30th Mar 2020

UK's EU commissioner resigns

  • Jonathan Hill's resignation takes effect 15 July (Photo: European Commission)

The UK's EU commissioner, Lord Jonathan Hill, announced his resignation on Saturday (25 June) in the wake of Britons voting on Thursday to leave the EU.

Hill's portfolio for financial markets and capital markets union will be taken over by EU commission vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis, the commissioner for the euro.

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  • Hill will be replaced by the commission's vice-president for the euro Valdis Dombrovskis (Photo: European Commission)

Lord Hill's resignation will take effect at midnight on 15 July.

"I don't believe it is right that I should carry on as the British commissioner as though nothing had happened," Hill said in a statement published on his EU website.

"In line with what I discussed with the president of the commission some weeks ago, I have therefore told him that I shall stand down," he said, adding that he is "obviously very disappointed about the result of the referendum".

Juncker reacted in a statement saying he regretted Hill's decision.

"I have tried to convince Lord Hill to stay on as commissioner. I consider him to be a true European and not just the British commissioner. However, I understand his decision and I respect it," Juncker said.

The commission chief has asked Latvian commissioner, and vice-president of the executive, Valdis Dombrovskis, responsible for the euro, to take over Hill's portfolio.

New British commisisoner?

Despite the vote to leave, the UK is and will remain a member of the EU until the end of the exit negotiations, which could take years. That means the British government still has the right to nominate another commissioner to the EU's executive.

Juncker's statement said he stands ready to discuss "swiftly" with the British prime minister the potential names for a UK commissioner and their possible portfolio.

The new UK commissioner would have to be appointed by the EU Council, with the agreement of the Commission president, after consulting the European Parliament.

Hill's departure would also trigger a reshuffling of the portfolios among the 28 commissioners.

Lord Hill said in his statement that he hoped Britain would want to "play a role in arguing for an outward-looking, flexible, competitive, free trade Europe". He added: "But the British people took a different decision, and that is the way that democracy works."

"I came to Brussels as someone who had campaigned against Britain joining the euro and who was sceptical about Europe. I will leave it certain that, despite its frustrations, our membership was good for our place in the world and good for our economy," Hill said.

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