Ursula von der Leyen Seeks to Tackle Europe’s Issue
The European Parliament has confirmed the EU’s new Commission under Ursula von der Leyen by a large majority. Prior to the vote, von der Leyen provided parliament with her vision.
Climate protection, digitization and a new approach regarding migration: the new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has promised a comprehensive change for all citizens in Europe. “We do this because it is the right thing, not because it will be easy.”
Von der Leyen presented her team of 26 commissioners and solicited their approval. Now, the new leadership can take office on Sunday and replace its predecessor Jean-Claude Juncker. The change takes place one month later than scheduled. The heavily fragmented parliament had rejected three commissioners, which caused a delay.
“My message is simple: Let’s get to work,” von der Leyen urged in her speech, in which she also once again promoted her key goals, including a new, stronger role for Europe in the world and an ambitious Green Deal. She also emphasized the importance of the digitization of the economy. Europe would need to set rules and standards for the responsible use of data in order to create trust in the networked economy, the CDU politician opined.
Von der Leyen also reiterated her announcement of a concept for asylum and migration, while recalling the 39 bodies recently discovered in a truck in the UK. “We all agree that this should never happen,” and Europe must find a “common solution” in this matter.
Before the vote, the three largest parliamentary groups – the Christian Democratic European People’s Party, the Social Democratic S & D and Renew – had already announced their support for von der Leyen’s team. A majority was therefore considered certain.
EPP Group Leader Weber praised the new Commission President’s priorities, as well as the fact that more women than ever will be represented on the governing body: “A key achievement is a better representation of the sexes,” Weber concluded.
Green and The Left, on the other hand, did not vote in von der Leyen’s favor. Green parliamentary leader Ska Keller expressed the fear that climate change will be pursued only “half-heartedly”, as no conversion of agriculture was foreseeable. The Left, meanwhile, has stated it seeks to act as “critical opposition” for von der Leyen, as group leader Schirdewan said.
Germany’s former Defense Minister von der Leyen was originally selected by the EU heads of state and government for the top EU post in June.