Britain’s new EU Commissioner receives security portfolio
Jean-Claude Juncker has created a new portfolio for the new UK-appointed Commissioner, Sir Julian King, as “Commissioner for the Security Union”. The UK’s last Commissioner, Lord Hill, resigned in the immediate aftermath of the referendum vote on 23 June, having held the financial services portfolio.
Mr Juncker’s Mission Letter gives an interesting insight into the Commission’s view of Brexit and the present role of the UK. The letter begins by acknowledging that this is “a particularly challenging time for the European Union” and expresses a wish for the new UK Commissioner “to fully play your part in this team”. It also closes by stating that this is “one of the most testing periods” in the Union’s history. He places most emphasis on the effects of the economic and financial crisis and the position of the unemployed, but goes on to say that “[i]n addition, we have to cope with the refugee crisis, with the aftermath of the UK referendum and with the increased threat of terrorism”.
The newly created Security Union portfolio covers measures in respect of terrorism and returning foreign terrorist fighters; improving information and intelligence sharing; the security response to radicalisation; reinforcing the capacity to protect critical infrastructure and soft targets; fighting cybercrime; and working in relation to EU-financed security research.