The new EU Commission should now be able to do without Britons after all. The 27 EU states have given the green light for the start on 1 December – thereby taking a self-inflicted risk.
Understand Frau von der Leyen: First she asks for a British commissioner for her team, although the EU has just negotiated a new Brexit treaty with Prime Minister Johnson.
Shortly after, she is launching an infringement procedure to force Johnson to nominate a man and/or a woman for Brussels, knowing that the country is campaigning.
Now the deadline for this procedure has passed. Johnson let the EU ultimatum pass without nominating a candidate for the new Commission.
Von der Leyen has a problem with that, one might think. But only a few hours later the ambassadors of the 27 EU countries nodded off their team – without a British representative.
They did everything they could to force London to fulfil its EU obligations, according to the statement in Brussels. The Commission’s legal service had covered this action.
Nevertheless, von der Leyen and her team take an imponderable risk. Because now there could be complaints against the “not properly composed” Commission.
The legal risk is “not zero”, according to the (old) EU Commission. At the latest when the new EU authority has to decide on state aid, it makes itself vulnerable.
The question remains why von der Leyen and the EU-27 are taking this risk. When the new Brexit deal was concluded, why didn’t they also decide to do without a British commissioner?
And why did von der Leyen not refer to the Lisbon Treaty, which in any case provided for a reduction in the size of the bloated Commission?
And what about the European Parliament, which elected 73 British MPs in May? On Wednesday it has approved the new Commission – even without the British.
How can we explain this to the citizens of the EU?
P.S. The “Guardian” has a piece on the last British Commissioner: ‘There isn’t any pomp, but it is a moment’