Last ever British EU commissioner pledges allegiance to Brussels

Jake Cordell
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Julian King could be the last ever British representative at the European Commission
Julian King could be the last ever British representative at the European Commission (Source: Getty)

The man set to become the UK's last ever European commissioner has pledged to work solely for Europe's best interests in a "marathon" hearing before members of the European Parliament.

Julian King, currently the UK's ambassador to France, was announced as successor to Lord Jonathan Hill, who resigned straight after the EU referendum, having been in charge of the prized financial services portfolio.

Jean-Claude Juncker promptly stripped the UK of that right after Hill's departure, instead naming King as the commissioner-designate with responsibility for security and terrorism.

Before he takes up that position, however, King needs to win the approval of MEPs.

At a hearing in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, and speaking in French, King said this evening: "For the avoidance of doubt ... I will fulfil my tasks to the best of my ability, serving the European general interest, and only the European general interest."

Read more: Should the City be worried by the EU's Brexit negotiator?

In a lengthy session, King reiterated on many occasions that he was not "a representative of the British government" and faced questions about how he envisaged the UK's future relationship with the EU and bodies such as Europol would work once the formal exit negotiations get underway.

Brussels-watchers suggested that handing the UK the security portfolio was a clear sign from European officials over how they see the UK and EU co-operating in the future.

MEPs will vote formally later this week on whether to approve King, although there are not expected to be any problems with his nomination.

Earlier today, the UK's Brexit secretary David Davis said the upcoming talks with the EU would be the "most complicated negotiation of modern times."

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