British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

European Commission President-elect, Ursula von der Leyen, has written to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, asking him to propose candidates for her team of top officials, a spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Britain had refused to nominate an EU commissioner, arguing that it would be out of the European Union on November 1, when the new commission was due to take over.

In October, however, Johnson committed to naming a commissioner as a condition for obtaining a new Brexit extension until January 31.

The EU executive’s leadership team must consist of one commissioner per member state.

Von der Leyen’s start has been delayed after the European Parliament rejected some of her nominees.

The president-elect asked Johnson to reply rapidly, in the shortest delay possible, her spokeswoman, Dana Spinant, said in view of her aim to enter office with her new commissioners on December 1.

She encouraged the British premier to put forward a woman for the post.

Von der Leyen has been at pains to compile a gender-balanced commission, a goal that is at risk after several rejected female nominees were replaced by male candidates.

One option could be for London to propose a second mandate for the current British Commissioner, Julian King.

However, that would not help in reaching gender quota.

So far, 23 commissioner designates have made it through the parliament’s hustings process.

EU lawmakers rejected the initial Hungarian, Romanian and French candidates, meaning that new hearings will need to take place with their replacements, as well as with Britain’s nominee.

Von der Leyen is hopeful the procedure can be completed in time for her to take office on December 1.

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