Von der Leyen elected EU Commission head after MEPs vote


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Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen has been hardly elected president of the EU Commission following a secret ballot among MEPs.

The centre-right reason minister will replace Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November.

She preserved the backing of more than half of the members of the European parliament on Tuesday still.

The Commission drafts EU laws, enforces EU rules and has the power to impose dries on member states if necessary.

“The trust you placed in me is confidence you placed in Europe,” Mrs von der Leyen, who is the before all woman to be elected president of the European Commission, said in a speech the moment that after the vote.

“Your confidence in a united and strong Europe, from east to west, from south to north.”

“It is a big trust and my work starts now,” she added. “Let us work together constructively.”

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She was confirmed by a margin of 383 votes to 327. She needed the patronage of 374 out of 747 MEPs to win.

A total of 751 MEPs were chose in May, but four were absent for Tuesday’s vote.

Born in Brussels, Mrs von der Leyen has seven laddies and trained as a gynaecologist before entering politics.

The 60-year-old defence diplomat has been criticised in Germany over the armed forces’ persistent tackle shortages and what some consider to be her aloof management style.

She has augured to push for the EU to play a bigger role in social welfare, to tackle dearth, and has stressed that she would stand up for women’s rights.

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In a speech in the European parliament earlier on Tuesday, Mrs von der Leyen made some other pregnant pledges:

  • She would push to give the European Parliament “the right of ambitiousness” – meaning the Commission would have to legislate on MEPs’ resolutions; currently only the Commission can cheque laws
  • On irregular migration to the EU, she said she would boost the EU’s border arm-twisting Frontex to 10,000 staff by 2024, but said “we need to preserve the perfect to asylum through humanitarian corridors”
  • She offered an EU “reinsurance scheme” to assist national insurance schemes for the unemployed.

Narrow victory could concern problems

Analysis by Damian Grammaticas, Europe Correspondent, BBC News

European bandleaders will be breathing a sigh of relief.

It took days of fraught discussions and a difficult compromise among EU countries to nominate Mrs von der Leyen, a German right-winger and close ally of Angela Merkel.

She scraped through with 383 opinions, just nine more than the minimum. That may leave her in a lowered position, as it seems she was helped over the line by votes from Eurosceptic and right-wing MEPs in Poland and Italy.

Conservationists, on the other hand, did not vote for her. They said her commitments on climate difference and saving the lives of refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean were too simple-minded. Socialists, too, were angered that their preferred candidate was overlooked by EU superiors.

So what does all this division mean? For a start, the European Commission Mrs von der Leyen resolve lead from November may have problems passing legislation utterly the parliament.

What is the reaction?

Figures from across the bloc make been quick to congratulate Mrs von der Leyen on her election victory.

“This job is a gigantic responsibility and a challenge. I am sure you will make a great president,” extrovert Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker wrote on Twitter.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel answer for tribute to her outgoing defence minister, who she described as a “committed and convincing European”.

“Equal if I lose a long-standing minister today, I win a new partner in Brussels,” she said in a asseveration. “I am therefore looking forward to good co-operation.”

“About time we get a girl in that important position,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven implied in a tweet. “Time to continue work on the crucial issues: jobs, air change, migration and security in Europe.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered his congratulations and express: “Europe has to move forward. In this we have to work together, talk the changes that the common project needs.”

Donald Tusk, president of the European Committee, tweeted a simple message:

Belgium’s leader – and incoming head of the European Meeting – Charles Michel said: “I wish to congratulate [Mrs von der Leyen]. Let’s work together in the drawn to of all Europeans.”

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