European Interest

EP elects Ursula von der Leyen as first female Commission President

Flickr/European Parliament/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
In a debate with MEPs, Ursula von der Leyen outlined her vision as Commission President.

Ursula von der Leyen is the new President of the European Commission after she was voted by a majority of the European Parliament.

For the German candidate have vote the EPP Group, the Social Democrats and the liberals of the Renew Europe Group.

Von der Leyen will be the first female European Commission president.

The new President will have to tackle crucial issues for the EU such as Brexit, climate change, international trade and rule of law.

“The Warm congratulations to @vonderleyen on her election as @EU_Commission president. Together with her, the @EPPGroup will continue fighting for a strong, ambitious and more democratic Europe,” wrote on his twitter account after the EP vote the President of the EPP Group Manfred Weber.

“We were very sceptical when the candidate came to our group last week, but over the past days we have to admit that she embraced our group’s core demands, with specific proposals for legislation. She recognises the urgent need to face the climate crisis with a climate law and a carbon tax. She has promised a minimum wage and a European Unemployment Reinsurance scheme; fair taxation for big tech corporations; flexibility in the Stability and Growth Pact, and to include the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the European Semester, respecting our call for sustainability and social justice,” said S&D leader Iratxe García earlier this afternoon.

“Congratulations @vonderleyden, elected as @EU_Commission President! NOW is the time to #RenewEurope! Citizens have strongly supported our ambition for a strong & united Europe. We will strive to deliver exactly that!  Our message to Ursula: let’s do this together!” wrote on his twitter account Dacian Cioloș, President of Renew Europe.

has been elected as the new President of the European Commission. Despite voting against her nomination, we congratulate the first female Commission President, and look forward to working with her to build a greener, fairer and more democratic union” tweet the Greens/EFA Group.

The Left group in the European Parliament GUE/NGL has maintained that von der Leyen is the candidate of the status quo, chosen in an obscure backroom deal and supported by some of Europe’s most far-right governments.

“Many saw von der Leyen’s background as Germany’s Defence Minister as a step towards an EU army and a tougher Fortress Europe. Her speech did not disappoint, paying lip service to the discourse of EU values and saving lives at sea but promising a stronger FRONTEX and praising the divisive European Defence Union,” said acting GUE/NGL President Martin Schirdewan.

The ECR Group didn’t support the German candidate.

“We did not support von der Leyen for a number of reasons. Her programme for more and more centralisation will further erode Member States’ capacity to act independently. This is unacceptable and offers little to voters who have genuine concerns over the speed and depth of EU integration,” reacted ECR Group co-chair Raffaele Fitto after the election of the new EC President.

“We were disappointed with the programme presented by Mrs. von der Leyen this morning which seemed to be a pitch only for left leaning votes. In this role it’s important to be reliable and what we heard in our group meeting last week is completely different to what we heard today. It now looks as though she will be the Commission President for the next five years so we will work constructively where we can, but clearly there are some serious differences and concerns from our side,” added ECR Group co-chair Ryszard Legutko.

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