The announcement of Sir Julian King’s new role as Europe’s new “Commissioner for the Security Union” has been celebrated by some as a sign of the European Commission getting serious about Brexit. They point out how King could have been given a derisory role which some Brussels insiders had previously joked about. This however ignores the reality of King’s new role.
King will report to Frans Timmermans, first vice-president of the European Commission, who will have the final say over any legislative initiatives. He will also be unable to attend ministerial meetings – usually a key part of any commissioner’s job.
Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Commissioner in charge of Home Affairs and Migration, will represent the Commission on security policy at meetings with EU ministers and in the European parliament, further reducing the scope of King’s role. It is clear this new role is a demotion when compared to the financial regulation brief held by his predecessor Lord Hill.
Hill’s decision to resign immediately after the referendum result was a highly foolish and irresponsible act. Whatever his own personal feelings of disappointment at the victory for the Leave campaign, he still had a duty to retain his Commission role until Brexit was fully implemented.
The UK is still a member of the European Union, paying significant sums into its coffers, and we are still subject to its laws and regulations. We should therefore remain entitled to a seat at the top table, with a real Commission role which suits the UK’s significant interests.
At the time, Hill claimed his resignation was the result of a private deal he made with the European President Jean Claude Juncker! Whilst backroom deals like these are a major feature of European Commission politics, Hill was in no position to make such a deal. His arrogance and recklessness should not come as much of a surprise to us, considering he is a man who has never been elected to any position.
Like his fellow European Commissioners, he is unelected and unaccountable – and Hill clearly felt his own sense of honour to Juncker outweighed his duty to the United Kingdom. Unsurprisingly, David Cameron’s decision to send one of his chums to Brussels in the first place has come back to haunt Great Britain. The sooner we Get Britain Out, the better.
Whilst the UK pays membership fees to the European Union it is entitled to a senior commission role. The UK remains one of the highest contributors to the European Union’s budget and as such deserves a senior role.
We may have voted to leave the club in the future but at the moment we are still a member, and as such deserve the full terms of membership. We need a Commissioner who is willing and able to stand up for the UK’s interests until we can fully Get Britain Out of the EU.
Jayne Adye is the Director of cross-party, grassroots Eurosceptic group Get Britain Out