BRUSSELS (AP) — Britain’s former ambassador to France is set to take up a newly created European Union security portfolio, the EU’s executive arm announced Tuesday.
European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker wants Julian King to lead the institution’s fight against terrorism, organized crime and radicalization.
The post shares some tasks held by the commissioner for home affairs and migration issues but avoids any major activities which could be linked to Britain’s negotiations on leaving the EU in coming years.
King is a career diplomat who has spent several years working at EU headquarters in Brussels.
He was nominated for commissioner after Jonathan Hill resigned in the wake of Britain’s vote in June to leave the EU. Hill had previously been Britain’s representative on the Commission responsible for financial services, a policy area likely to be central to Britain’s exit negotiations.
The Commission said Juncker would seek endorsement for the move from the European Parliament.
British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office welcomed Juncker’s plans in a statement.
“Security is a vital issue for all member states and co-operation across the EU can help to better protect us all from the range of threats we face,” it said.
“The U.K. will continue to fulfil our rights and obligations as a member state until we leave the EU and the Prime Minister has been clear that we will be an active player so it is right that we should continue to have a Commissioner role.”
Britain is expected to leave the EU about two years after it officially triggers a legal clause announcing its departure, making an exit likely in early 2019.
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