EU crisis: German influence drains away in Brussels as Ursula von der Leyen takes office

BREAKING NEWS

Daily Express :: World Feed 

Advertisements

Ms Von der Leyen’s elevation means Berlin no longer has a working commissioner while Angela Merkel’s former defence secretary – the first woman to run the commission and the first German to do so in 50 – is already under intense pressure to be perceived as a neutral. Ms von der Leyen officially replaced Mr Juncker yesterday, two days after a handover ceremony in Brussels.

Belgium’s Charles Michel succeeded Donald Tusk as EU Council president and chair of the summits of EU leaders.

European Parliament President David Sassoli welcomed the new leaders while calling on them to deliver on promises made to the European Union’s 508 million citizens, saying “it is now time to act”.

SUBSCRIBE

He said: ”We need to turn the promises of the past few months into results that improve people’s lives.

“From the fight against climate change to tackling the rise in the cost of living, Europeans want to see real action.”

Advertisements

Momentum is building to face the challenge of climate change and Ms von der Leyen has said it will be a top priority for her.

The nomination of Ms von der Leyen in July was seen by many as the natural progression for a country long-accustomed to having its voice well-represented in Brussels.

But German officials, MEPs and lobbyists in Brussels and Berlin say they are bracing for a significant loss of influence within the corridors of power.

Ms von der Leyen has not had the best of starts with controversy over some of the titles she assigned to her commissioners and miscalculations of the political dynamics in the European Parliament raising questions about her ability to protect the independence of the Commission from outspoken national leaders such as Emmanuel Macron.

Advertisements

But she will also find herself under close scrutiny as an impartial “guardian of the treaties”.

Judy Dempsey, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Europe think tank, told politico.eu: “Von der Leyen doesn’t want to be seen as the pushy German.

“She wants to be European first. Her speeches are all about this.”

And with Ms von der Leyen taking up the presidency, Germany no longer has an EU commissioner — a position held for 10 years by influential budget chief and champion if German interests Günther Oettinger.

Daniel Caspary, head of Ms Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) group in the European Parliament said: “Von der Leyen has a clear duty to keep the Commission together and to make compromise proposals.

Advertisements

“We will clearly miss the German commissioner.”

Ms Von der Leyen said her ambitious agenda at the head of the European Union’s executive will centre on the “existential issue” of battling climate change.

She promised to would work on “a European Green Deal” so the EU can continue to be a global leader on the climate change issue.

She said: “Climate change is about all of us. We have the duty to act and the power to lead.”

Addressing Brexit, Ms von der Leyen tweeted in English to insist on close cooperation with the UK although she said she was still a Remainer.

Advertisements

She tweeted: “We all know that one member of our family intends to leave our Union.

“I have made no secret that I will always be a Remainer.

“But I will also always respect the decision taken by the British people.”

Advertisements

EU crisis: German influence drains away in Brussels as Ursula von der Leyen takes office

Ms Von der Leyen’s elevation means Berlin no longer has a working commissioner while Angela Merkel’s former defence secretary – the first woman to run the commission and the first German to do so in 50 – is already under intense pressure to be perceived as a neutral.

Ms Von der Leyen’s elevation means Berlin no longer has a working commissioner while Angela Merkel’s former defence secretary – the first woman to run the commission and the first German to do so in 50 – is already under intense pressure to be perceived as a neutral.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.