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16 Jul, 2019 18:37

Germany's Von der Leyen confirmed as next EU Commission president

Germany's Von der Leyen confirmed as next EU Commission president

The European Parliament has confirmed model centrist liberal politician Ursula von der Leyen as the next president of the EU Commission, narrowly exceeding the 374 votes she needed to take one of the bloc’s top jobs.

Von der Leyen, a former German Defense Minister who came to politics after a career in medicine, was confirmed by a vote of 383 to 327, speaker of the assembly David Sassoli said on Tuesday. Sassioli also said there were 22 abstentions and one blank vote.

Following the vote, Von der Leyen, who is a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said her new role would be a “big responsibility” and that her “work starts now.”

Von der Leyen, who espouses all the mainstream liberal views that Brussels holds dear and opposes the nationalist blowback, said she was aiming for a “united and strong Europe” and has been a major proponent of creating a common European army.

Also on rt.com Good luck to EU: Bundeswehr crumbled under von der Leyen, who is now to take helm of the union

But Von der Leyen’s role also Germany’s defense minister was plagued with controversy, as reports detailed fleets in need of repair, personnel shortages, as well as stolen and missing weapons – and, despite boosting German defense spending during her tenure, she still did not manage to modernize the country's armed forces.  

While Von der Leyen was heartily backed by the three mainstream political groups within the EU, some MEPs were less enthused by the Merkel ally. UK Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said Von der Leyen was attempting to have the EU "take control of every single aspect of our lives.” Alternative for Germany MEP Jorg Meuthen said Von der Leyen had made "vague promises" but doesn't have a "convincing idea of a modern Europe" which serves Europeans.

She will take up her new role on November 1.

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