Monday

25th Jun 2018

UK nominates obscure Lord for EU commission

  • Lord Hill - From "non, non, non" to becoming the UK's next EU commissioner. (Photo: parliament.uk)

British PM David Cameron has made Lord Jonathan Hill his surprise nomination to be the UK's next EU commissioner.

The nomination of Hill, a relative unknown in domestic politics, is part of the UK leader's most significant reshuffle of his cabinet since taking office in 2010, as he prepares his team for next year's general election.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

One of the more junior members of the cabinet, Hill has been leader of the House of Lords since 2013, after spending three years as a junior education minister.

If the move is a surprise to pundits, who had expected a big-hitter to secure the EU job, it will also come as a surprise to the nominee himself who had previously suggested that he would turn down the post if offered it.

In an interview last month with the ConservativeHome website, Hill said that he would reply “non, non, non” if offered the job by Cameron.

However, in a statement on Tuesday (15 July), Hill said that he was “excited” to accept the nomination.

“When the next European elections take place, I want to be able to say to people across Europe – including Britain – that the European Commission has heeded their concerns and changed the EU for the better.”

Despite his lack of experience in office, Hill has a reputation as a backroom fixer. He served as an advisor first for Tory veteran Ken Clarke, and then for prime minister John Major between 1991 and 1994, during which time the Maastricht treaty, which secured Britain’s opt-out from the social chapter and the euro, was ratified.

He then set up his own lobbying company – Quiller Consultants – in London.

Hill is likely to become an important figure as Cameron attempts to re-draw the UK’s EU membership terms ahead of a possible referendum in 2017.

But his relative inexperience and lack of profile reduces the chances that he will be given one of the top economic portfolios in the EU executive under Jean-Claude Juncker.

Hill will replace EU foreign affairs chief Cathy Ashton, the UK's current top EU official, becoming the second commissioner in a row to come from the House of Lords, and meaning that Cameron can avoid holding a by-election.

In his ConservativeHome interview, Hill commented that this was the main argument in favour of appointing him.

“I assume ... that the reason I ever got put publicly in the frame for it is the assumption that people want to find an MP, and then they think, oh gosh, there’s a problem with a by-election,” he said.

So far only a handful of governments have confirmed who their nominees will be for the first Juncker Commission.

Current commissioners Maros Sefcovic (Slovakia) and Johannes Hahn (Austria) have been re-nominated, while Estonian MEP Andrus Ansip, Latvian MEP Vladis Dombrovskis, Maltese politician Karmenu Vella, and Irish environment minister Phil Hogan are the others to be confirmed as nominees.

The hearings in the European Parliament will take place in September before MEPs vote on the new European Commission.

Focus

Cameron mends ties with Juncker

British PM Cameron has reached out to Juncker, after having failed to prevent his nomination as European Commission chief.

Opinion

Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability

We see the new CAP as spelling the death of rural communities, the acceleration of the rural exodus, the consolidation of big agribusinesses, jeopardising public health standards and turning binding climate change targets into optional goals for member states.

Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'

After late-night talks, the Eurogroup agreed on a €15bn disbursement and debt relief measures for Greece, while setting out a tight monitoring when the bailout ends in August.

News in Brief

  1. Nine countries to sign up for Macron's military initiative
  2. Re-elected Erdogan potentially in power until 2028
  3. Macron's popularity drops among French pensioners
  4. Tajani calls for €6bn investment to halt migration
  5. Major demo in London for second EU referendum
  6. Venice Commission: Hungary should repeal NGO law
  7. Trump threatens to slap 20 percent tariff on EU cars
  8. EU closes deficit procedure against France

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  2. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMHRMI Launches Lawsuits Against Individuals and Countries Involved in Changing Macedonia's Name
  4. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  5. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  7. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  11. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  12. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform

Latest News

  1. Progressive CAP alternative only hope for sustainability
  2. Ponytailed green MEP joins 'the other side of the table'
  3. EU leaders still in search of migration plan
  4. Migration row at centre of EU summit This Week
  5. Merkel's woes cast shadow on EU's future
  6. Europe's tech race - trying to keep pace with US and China
  7. Merkel and Juncker's mini-summit risks fiasco
  8. Greece and creditors proclaim 'end of crisis'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us