European Union nominates first woman to lead commission

Marco Green
July 3, 2019

Prime among them is the post of president of the EU's powerful executive arm, the European Commission, now held by Jean-Claude Juncker, and the president of the European Council, where incumbent Mr. Tusk chairs summits and helps set the EU's political agenda.

Mr Tusk said: "We have proposed Ursula von der Leyen as the next president of the European Commission and nominated Christine Lagarde as the candidate for president of the European Central Bank".

The center-right Frenchwoman, now heading the International Monetary Fund, would lead the Frankfurt-based European Central Bank (ECB), which steers the economies of the 19 members of the single-currency euro zone.

The Greens/EFA is the seventh largest group in European Parliament, so the German is a long shot to become European Commission president.

The EPP won the election last May, despite some losses, and wanted the commission top job for one of their peers.

Mr Michel refused to speculate on Brexit but has proved to be a staunch opponent of further extensions to Britain's European Union membership.

"This accord is the fruit of a deep Franco-German entente", Macron told a news conference.

"The European Council has agreed on the future leadership of the EU institutions", Tusk said on Twitter.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said she still "hoped that with good will a compromise will be feasible" when the leaders meet anew on Tuesday. A mother of seven, she has held government positions as labour and family affairs minister, driving forward key policies on gender quotas for company boards and improved maternity and paternity pay and rights.

"He has always pushed a migration policy which is unacceptable for us, so this man is absolutely unacceptable and I can't see why the prime ministers of France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany weren't able to understand", Babis said.

Following talks yesterday, Dutch Social Democrat Frans Timmermans was favored to take the top European Commission post.

But von der Leyen is unpopular in Germany and in a sign of Merkel´s weak grip on power, the chancellor abstained from backing her defence minister in the final vote at the summit due to opposition from socialists back home.

Merkel told reporters after the summit that she wants to see the lead candidate system continue, but said that it needs to be better defined - and there might be a need for transnational list at the next European Union elections.

She has previously criticised a lack of strategy in Trump's approach to Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation and has suggested that the U.S. president's frosty relationship with Merkel is based on his antiquated image of women. The first two have clashed with Timmermans over enforcement of the rule of law in Europe, part of the Dutchman's brief in his current role as Commission deputy head. The leading EPP candidate Manfred Weber appeared in line to serve at least half a term as president of the European Parliament, the diplomat said.

She once had a reputation as a flawless politician, but Brussels-born Von der Leyen has had a scandal-prone run as German defence minister, mainly over right-wing extremism in the armed forces, gaps in military readiness, and the awarding of arms contracts.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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