European Commission launches infringement proceedings against the UK following its failure to name a candidate for EU Commissioner

The European Commission has sent a letter of formal notice to the United Kingdom for breaching its EU Treaty obligations by not suggesting a candidate for the post of EU Commissioner. The UK authorities have until Friday 22 November 2019 at the latest to provide their views. The Commission says that this short time period is justified by the fact that the next Commission must enter into office as soon as possible.

Following the UK’s reply on 13 November 2019 to the two letters sent by President-elect Ursula von der Leyen recalling the UK’s obligations under the EU Treaty (and the European Council decision of 29 October 2019 extending the Article 50 period), the Commission has now analysed this reply and considers that the UK is in breach of its EU Treaty obligations.

In its letter, the UK authorities consider that they are not in a position to suggest a candidate for the post of EU Commissioner in view of the upcoming general election. The European Commission recalls that, in accordance with established EU case law, a Member State may not invoke provisions prevailing in its domestic legal system to justify failure to observe obligations arising under Union law.

In accordance with Article 258 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, the UK is invited to submit its observations on the letter of formal notice at the latest by Friday 22 November 2019. After examining these observations, or if no observations are submitted within this time limit, the Commission may, if appropriate, issue a Reasoned Opinion. To read the Commission’s press release in full, click here.