EU commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said today he wants his British nominee to the EU executive to serve as security commissioner tasked with fighting terrorism, organised crime and cyber crime.
Juncker said he intended to give the new job of Security Union Commissioner to Julian King, Britain’s ambassador to France who he previously announced as a replacement for Jonathan Hill, the financial services commissioner.
Hill stepped down after the British referendum on June 23 which saw Britons decide to leave the European Union.
“President Juncker announced his intention to allocate the Security Union portfolio to Sir Julian King,” a statement said, with the nomination sent to the European Parliament for approval.
The EU statement said the new security commissioner will support the implementation of the European Agenda on Security that the European Commission, the executive of the 28-nation EU, adopted in April last year.
The five-year agenda is aimed at tackling terrorism, organised crime and cyber crime.
Juncker late yesterday informed Britain’s new prime minister Theresa May of his choice. May replaced David Cameron after he resigned following the British referendum.
A senior diplomat, King is currently Britain’s ambassador to France, but has also held posts in Brussels, New York, Paris, Luxembourg, The Hague and Lisbon.
Crucially, King worked at the European Commission in 2008 and 2009 where he was chief of staff to Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson and later to foreign affairs supremo Catherine Ashton, both British commissioners.
Hill’s highly sensitive financial services portfolio is now being shared between Latvia’s Valdis Dombrovskis, the commission vice president for the euro and Economics Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici of France.
King’s nomination requires the approval of the European Parliament, where nominees must face a gruelling hearing with MEPs, as well as the green light of the EU’s member states.