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Ambassador Sir Julian King nominated as UK's new European Commissioner

Published 08/07/2016

Prime Minister David Cameron nominated Sir Julian King to fill the vacancy left in Brussels when Lord Hill of Oareford resigned in the wake of the EU referendum
Prime Minister David Cameron nominated Sir Julian King to fill the vacancy left in Brussels when Lord Hill of Oareford resigned in the wake of the EU referendum

David Cameron has nominated the UK's ambassador to France to become Britain's new European Commissioner, Downing Street has announced.

Subject to approval by the European Parliament, Sir Julian King will fill the vacancy left in Brussels when former commissioner Lord Hill of Oareford resigned in the wake of last month's referendum.

Despite the Brexit vote, the UK remains a full member with the right to one of the 28 seats on the powerful Commission until it has formally left the EU - which could take two years or more.

Career diplomat Sir Julian, 51, took up his posting in Paris in February this year, having previously served as ambassador to Ireland from 2009 to 2011.

He spent five years in Brussels from 2004-09, first as part of the UK representation to the EU and then as chief of staff in the office of the British Commissioner, serving under Lord Mandelson and Lady Ashton.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman said: "Sir Julian King is an experienced diplomat. He has got particular expertise in European affairs and the Prime Minister thinks he will make a strong addition to the Commission."

The PM discussed the appointment with Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker over the past week and formally wrote to inform him of his nomination on Thursday evening.

It is not yet known which portfolio Sir Julian will be offered within the Commission, which is effectively the EU's civil service and has powers to initiate legislative proposals.

Lord Hill's financial stability and capital markets brief was passed on to commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis of Latvia when he quit, and there is no guarantee that the UK will be offered the same area of responsibility.

Under Brussels procedures, Mr Juncker will put Sir Julian's name, along with a proposed portfolio, to the European Parliament for approval before his appointment.

Announcing his decision to quit, Lord Hill said he was "disappointed" by the referendum result and did not believe it was right to carry on "as though nothing had happened". He leaves office on July 15.

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