Brussels, 3 October 2008
Commissioner Mandelson resigns to join UK government, Baroness Ashton of Upholland nominated to succeed him. The member of the Commission responsible for trade, Peter Mandelson, has today submitted his resignation to the Commission President, José Manuel Barroso. Mr Mandelson resigns to accept the invitation by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to join the government.
Following consultations with President Barroso, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has nominated Baroness Ashton of Upholland as successor to Mr Mandelson. President Barroso has subsequently written to the President of the Council and to the President of the European Parliament, transmitting the resignation of Mr Mandelson as a member of the European Commission, and his agreement with the nomination of Baroness Ashton of Upholland as a member of the Commission.
President Barroso has decided to attribute the trade portfolio to Baroness Ashton of Upholland.
In the letter to the President of the Council, President Barroso has asked the Council to put in place as soon as possible the procedure foreseen by the Treaty for the replacement of Mr Mandelson.
In the letter to the President of the European Parliament, President Barroso informs that following the Council's appointment and in accordance with the Framework Agreement between the European Parliament and the Commission, Baroness Ashton of Upholland will be available to appear before the Parliament, in full compliance with the prerogatives of the institutions.
Mr Mandelson's resignation will be effective as soon as Baroness Ashton of Upholland has been appointed by the Council pursuant to Article 215 of the Treaty establishing the European Community. Until his resignation becomes effective, Mr Mandelson continues to exercise his mandate as member of the European Commission, in the full respect of the treaties.
Catherine Margaret Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Upholland, PC, an economist by training, was until now a Labour member of the UK House of Lords, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council.
She was previously Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Skills, Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Constitutional Affairs, and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice, where her responsibilities included the trade implications of legal professions.
On 28 June 2007, she was promoted to the Cabinet as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council. In 2008, she was responsible for the successful passage of the Lisbon Treaty in the House of Lords.
1.Article 215 of the Treaty establishing the European Community
"Apart from normal replacement, or death, the duties of a Member of the Commission shall end when he resigns or is compulsorily retired.
A vacancy caused by resignation, compulsory retirement or death shall be filled for the remainder of the Member's term of office by a new Member appointed by the Council, acting by a qualified majority. The Council may, acting unanimously, decide that such a vacancy need not be filled.
In the event of resignation, compulsory retirement or death, the President shall be replaced for the remainder of his term of office. The procedure laid down in Article 214(2) shall be applicable for the replacement of the President.
Save in the case of compulsory retirement under Article 216, Members of the Commission shall remain in office until they have been replaced or until the Council has decided that the vacancy need not be filled, as provided for in the second paragraph of this Article."
2.Article 4 of the Framework Agreement between the European Commission and the European Parliament
"Where it becomes necessary to arrange for the replacement of a Member of the Commission during his or her term of office pursuant to Article 215 of the Treaty establishing the European Community, the President of the Commission shall immediately contact the President of Parliament in order to reach agreement on the manner in which the President of the Commission intends to ensure the presentation of the future Member before Parliament without delay and in full compliance with the prerogatives of the Institutions. Parliament shall ensure that its procedures are conducted with the utmost dispatch, in order to enable the President of the Commission to be informed of Parliament’s position in due time before the Member is called upon to exercise duties as the Commission’s representative."