The likelihood of the EU extending the UK’s Brexit deadline “looks good”, after which Britain should put forward a candidate for the European Commission, its incoming president said on Thursday, even as British Prime Minister threatened to call a snap election before Christmas after losing a vote on his Brexit timetable.
“The question of granting an extension, that looks very good,” EU president-elect Ursula von der Leyen said.
EU member states on Wednesday backed a plan to postpone Brexit beyond October 31, after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was compelled to send an extension request under a law passed by rebel MPs. On Thursday, von der Leyen said that a further Brexit delay would mean the UK should put forward a nominee to join the incoming cabinet of EU commissioners.
“I can also ask the United Kingdom to send a commissioner,” von der Leyen said.
The new commission was scheduled to start its work on November 1, but that has been delayed until at least December after the European Parliament rejected candidate-commissioners from France, Hungary and Romania. The UK has previously declined to propose a candidate for the next administration, owing to the country's expected departure before the new commission begins sitting. EU law states that each member state should have a representative in the commission.