Cameron names UK envoy in Paris as EU Commissioner

Prime Minister David Cameron has proposed Britain's ambassador to France as its new European Commissioner, an official said Friday, after the previous commissioner stepped down in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Cameron names UK envoy in Paris as EU Commissioner
Julian King, right, the UK's ambassador to France. Photo: AFP

Cameron has proposed Julian King to replace Jonathan Hill, commissioner for financial services and capital markets in Brussels, who resigned immediately after Britain's shock decision to leave the European Union.

“Sir Julian King is an experienced diplomat, he's got particular expertise in European affairs and the prime minister thinks he will make a strong addition to the commission,” Cameron's spokeswoman told reporters on Friday.

British media has reported that King will most probably be the UK's last European Commissioner, after authorities agreed that Hill's replacement should serve until the United Kingdom actually leaves the EU.

“On Monday … (European Commission) President (Jean-Claude) Juncker will receive and interview Julian King following his nomination by Prime Minister David Cameron to replace the outgoing commissioner Lord Hill,” spokeswoman Mina Andreeva told reporters.

“The members of the Commission shall be chosen on the grounds of their general competence and European commitment from persons whose independence is beyond doubt,” she said.

A senior diplomat, King is currently Britain's ambassador to France, but has also held posts in Brussels, New York, Paris, Luxembourg, The Hague and Lisbon.

Crucially, King worked at the European Commission in 2008 and 2009 where he was chief of staff to Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and later to foreign affairs supremo Catherine Ashton, both British commissioners.

If confirmed, King will not however take the highly sensitive financial services portfolio, which will be shared between Valdis Dombrovskis, the commission vice president for the euro and Economics Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.

King's nomination requires the approval of European Parliament, where nominees must face a gruelling hearing with MEPs, as well the greenlight of the EU's member states. 

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