5min read
PREVIOUS ARTICLE Fed chief reasserts independen... NEXT ARTICLE Shareholders reap record divid...

The incoming European Commission was back on course on Monday for a December 1 start date, after MEPs approved the final team member nominated by Ursula von der Leyen.

The president-elect had hoped to take office this month, but MEPs rejected three members of her initial line-up and Britain refused to offer a candidate, slowing the process.

But, with the UK due to leave the bloc at the end of January, the former German defence minister now plans to go ahead with a 27-member top team.

Hungary’s chosen commissioner, Olivier Varhelyi, received a green light after going through a second European Parliament grilling to satisfy lawmakers he will serve only EU interests and not those of his country’s right-wing populist government.

“What an honor to become part of team Ursula von der Leyen! For stronger Europe together!” the new Commission nominee tweeted.

The European Parliament is expected to give final assent to the assembled team of commissioners next week, paving the way for von der Leyen’s executive to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker next month.

But a question mark remains over the absence of a commissioner from Britain.

The UK has refused to put one forward, arguing it is unable to make such international nominations ahead of its December 12 general election.

The country is due to leave the EU on January 31 next year under a thrice-extended Brexit deadline.

The outgoing European Commission has begun legal action against Britain over that decision, mainly to cover the EU against any challenge to the legitimacy of a new commission lacking a commissioner from one member state.

Von der Leyen has had a hard time getting her team together.

Three previous commissioner-candidates from France, Hungary and Romania failed to get through European Parliament, forcing new ones to be put forward and delaying the new Commission’s start date by a month.

The replacement French and Romanian candidates made it through their grillings on their first try, but Varhelyi was given a second set of questions to answer by sceptical MEPs.