Robert HARNEIS -TDO- European Members of Parliament have approved the appointment of Ursula Von der Leyen as President of the European Commission. She was the only candidate.She succeeds Jean-Claude Juncker known for his cynicalpolitical jokes and his ‘sciatica’.
She told members “Let us work together constructively because its about a united and strong Europe.”She also told members that she was not opposed to yet another delay for Brexit.
Von der Leyen achieved 383 votes, just 9 more than the necessary 374 votes for a majority. Se takes other from Juncker on November 1st. Her election was welcomed by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a close colleague and friend in the CDU party. She was previously German DefenseMinister.
To get the necessary votes she committed to a “green deal” for the EU within the first 100 days of her appointment. She has also promised a more even application of the Right of Asylum across the EU, a Convention on the future of the EU and the introduction of a system of reinsurance for unemployment to help countries hit by economic problems. Most important she is committed to allowing the European Parliament to initiate legislation, a much criticized right previously reserved only for the unelected Commission.
The outcome was in doubt up to an hour before the vote. There has been much criticism for the way in which she had been parachuted into the top EU job without any proper consultation. Her lack of experience in European matters has also raised eyebrows, as has her record of failure at the German Ministry of Defense.
Von der Leyen’s narrow margin of victory indicates that over 50 members disobeyed party orders to vote for her. She is notably unpopular in Germany itself where only 30% of those polled thought she should have the job.
Her nomination by the European Heads of State followed 50 hours of intense negotiations.
She is the first woman to be President of the European Commission and the first German since the very first President Hallstein in the 1950s and 60s.