Greens' presidents meet with von der Leyen

Lester Mason
July 13, 2019

She insisted there would be no change to the Irish "backstop" and warned the two men vying to replace May, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, that the "tone and attitude" of Brexit were vitally important to future relations between Britain and the EU.

She met with the European Conservatives and Reformists group on Monday.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne of Finland, which just took over the rotating presidency of the European Council, called for von der Leyen's quick approval.

"What she will do concretely is unclear", he added.

The questions came during a hearing where she was quizzed on issues such as climate change targets, the environmental impact of the Mercosur trade deal, as well as Brexit.

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, a compromise name for the next European Commission President, was nominated at the EU summit on June 30-July 2.

"Yes, the door is open, because we want you in", said von der Leyen.

Mrs von der Leyen also spoke in favour of enlarging the eurozone and the EU's open-border Schengen area, and said the European Union should be ready to take in western Balkan countries. However, this depends on the EU's member states appointing women to be their commissioners - an appeal many ignored in 2014.

The German lawmaker needs at least 374 votes from 747 MEPs in order to become European Commission president. Her earlier meetings with the EPP, Eurosceptic group and socialists were not broadcast online.

What exactly did she say about Brexit?

She may still win the support of the full parliament, but rejection by the Greens leaves her relying more on representatives from Eastern European states. "I prefer to speak about the army of the Europeans, not the European army", she said, citing as a model the existing cooperation between Dutch and German forces.

She also acknowledged the "bumpy start" she had gotten off to with the liberals, referencing the widespread disapproval of her surprise nomination over the candidates who had been announced before the European Parliament elections in May.

The liberals of Renew Europe are pushing for von der Leyen's approval - although they expect further commitment from her next week on the rule of law, transnational lists and getting the Danish liberal commissioner Margrethe Vestager a vice-president position in the commission.

Von der Leyen answered "yes" and pointed out her appointment was backed by all countries, although Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, did not vote for her because of divisions in Germany's ruling coalition. "This is the foundation - respect for the rule of law", she told a group of liberal deputies, adding that it was also vital to boost the competitiveness of the EU's economy.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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