UK gets financial services role in EU commission

Published on Wednesday, 10 September 2014 11:47
Written by Daniel Mason

Britain's Jonathan Hill has been handed responsibility for financial stability, financial services and capital markets union in the European commission.

The incoming president of the EU's executive body, Luxembourg's Jean-Claude Juncker, unveiled the portfolios given to his new team for 2014 to 2019 at a press conference in Brussels today.

Lord Hill, a former leader of the House of Lords, was chosen as Britain's commissioner by the prime minister, David Cameron.

Taking over a financial services portfolio is likely to be welcomed by the UK government, for which protecting the status of the City of London is a priority.

However, the main economic roles have been given to France's Pierre Moscovici and Finland's Jyrki Katainen.

Each of the 28 EU countries gets a place in the commission with responsibility for a specific policy area, though they are supposed to work in the European rather than the national interest.

Juncker has picked Dutch foreign minister Frans Timmermans as his first vice-president or right-hand man, while six others - but not Hill - will also be vice-presidents.

One of the vice-presidents will be Italy's Federica Mogherini, who was earlier chosen by EU leaders as the bloc's foreign policy chief to replace the UK's Catherine Ashton. Just nine out of the 28 commissioners are women.

Juncker, who was previously prime minister of Luxembourg, said: "In the new commission, there are no first or second-class commissioners - there are team leaders and team players. They will work together in a spirit of collegiality and mutual dependence.

"I want to overcome silo-mentalities and introduce a new collaborative way of working in areas where Europe can really make a difference."

The full list of commissioners can be viewed here. The nominations will not be confirmed until each has attended a hearing in the European Parliament and won the approval of MEPs.

Juncker's selection as president was strongly opposed by Cameron but the UK prime minister was comprehensively outvoted by other EU leaders - with only Hungary supporting his position.

Cameron remains committed to renegotiating the UK's relationship with the EU and holding an in/out referendum on membership of the Conservatives win next year's general election.

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