Breaking News
LAST CHANCE for Cyber Monday SALE: Up to 54% off InvestingPro! Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your experience. Save up to 40% More details

Von der Leyen, nominee to head EU executive, rushes to seek parliament backing

Stock MarketsJul 03, 2019 02:10PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
© Reuters. Weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin

By Francesco Guarascio and Daphne Psaledakis

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - European Union governments' surprise nominee for president of their executive, Germany's Ursula von der Leyen, sought support in the bloc's parliament on Wednesday, hoping to secure the confirmation she will need in two weeks' time.

Under a deal reached by the 28 member governments on Tuesday after long and fraught negotiations, Von der Leyen, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, will replace Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the EU's executive Commission.

France's Christine Lagarde will head the European Central Bank..

Leaders hope the decision to put two women at the top of EU decision-making for the first time will send a positive message and repair damage to the bloc's image wrought by such a fractious summit, diplomats said.

The discord echoed a wider fracturing of the EU's political center evident in May's elections to the European Parliament, which delivered a more fragmented assembly with bigger far-right and far-left contingents.

"In the end, we've got a package that found unanimity and that's a very important achievement," said a senior EU diplomat, who asked not to be named.

"It's the eternal compromise, but that's how we work ... The parliament will make its peace with it. They'll huff and puff, as they do. But they’ll back it in the end."

Yet the selection wrangles could portend difficulties ahead for Von der Leyen, currently German defense minister, as she tries to marshal a strong and united EU response to issues from global warming and Brexit to trade wrangling with Washington and Iran's nuclear ambitions.

Von der Leyen needs to be confirmed in her new job by an absolute majority of the 751 EU lawmakers.

"I decided that my very first stop would be here in Strasbourg to meet the European Parliament ... because here is where the heart of the European democracy is beating," she told reporters at the legislature.

She said her hope was to nurture "intensive cooperation" between the European Commission, European Council of national leaders, and European Parliament over her five-year term.

On paper, Von der Leyen ought to be able to secure those votes comfortably, but she may hit resistance in an assembly aggrieved that EU leaders ignored the lead candidates from the main parliamentary blocs - the "Spitzenkandidaten" - in their horse-trading over top posts.


The parliament did, however, get its wish on Wednesday to choose its own preferred candidate as speaker for the next 2-1/2 years, something that may smooth ruffled feathers.

Italian socialist David Sassoli, a 63-year-old former journalist who has served for 10 years as an EU lawmaker, was elected after two rounds of voting.

The Socialist and Green groupings had been particularly upset at Von der Leyen's nomination.

"This backroom stitch-up after days of talks is grotesque, it satisfies no one but party power games," said Greens leader Ska Keller.

The Socialists' leader in the assembly, Spain's Iratxe Garcia, called the agreement "deeply disappointing".

They were mostly angered by east European leaders' rejection of socialist Frans Timmermans as Commission head, a move that many saw as retaliation against his accusations of civil rights violations in Hungary and Poland.

Von der Leyen can, however, rely on the support of the main center-right and liberal groupings. Another conservative group led by Poland's ruling PiS party also looks set to back her.

Most Italian lawmakers, although eurosceptic, are also likely to support Von der Leyen, after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte welcomed the deal on her nomination.

This would give her enough votes to be endorsed, even without the backing of the socialists.

Under the deal reached by the EU leaders, and backed by conservatives, the center-right will have the presidency of the parliament in the second half of the five-year legislature.

While a gender balance has been maintained in choosing the EU's top posts, the East-West balance has been neglected, with no eastern European designated for a top position.

Von der Leyen, nominee to head EU executive, rushes to seek parliament backing

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Post also to:
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
Sign up with Email