Empty Promises? Ursula Von Der Leyen Would Support Brexit Extension

Wednesday, 17 Jul, 2019

German Federal Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyen has announced her resignation as she prepares her future role in European Commission, according to a note presented to the German armed forces by her on Monday.

And he claimed that she was leading an attempt for the EU to become a "centralised, undemocratic, updated form of communism" and suggested she was a "fanatic for building a European army".

In her own address, MEP Marina Kaljurand (SDE/S&D) acknowledged von der Leyen's promise to commit to fighting for human rights, equality and the building of an undivided Europe.

"This is a serious decision, we regret it but we respect it".

"I very much regret that the United Kingdom has made a decision to leave the European Union".

But she also insisted that the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with Theresa May is still the "best and only possible deal for an orderly withdrawal".

Von der Leyen pledged the European Union will "lead worldwide ambition" on fighting climate change when she delivered a speech to the assembly in Strasbourg, France, which was to vote on her nomination later Tuesday.

"I want Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world by 2050".

"I feel so honored and I am overwhelmed", she said in an immediate reaction.

Ursula von der Leyen, the German candidate for president of the European Commission, said on Tuesday that she would put forward a green deal in her first 100 days in office and put carbon neutrality into a first-ever European climate law.

She said reducing emissions has a price and that is behavioural change meaning every sector will have to contribute, including aviation. "What will you do to ensure that divides and divisions in Europe do not grow, but rather shrink?"

The three main mainstream groups are expected to back her, but the Greens and the far-left will not, and the vote is a secret ballot that could contain surprises.

"I am confident that the von der Leyen Commission will meet the aspirations of the European citizens, will answer their concerns and deliver a strong Europe that will protect us all".

She was a last-minute candidate and many MEPs were angry none of their lead candidates were picked for the job.

As the second largest political group after the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), the S&D represents 154 votes.

Mrs von der Leyen, a close ally of Angela Merkel with a patchy record as Germany's defence minister, said she would propose adding violence against women to the list of crimes defined in the EU's Treaty. The surprise announcement came after weeks of intense wrangling between European Union leaders, which, until the final hours of a three-day emergency summit, had centered on three completely different candidates: German conservative Manfred Weber, Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans and Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager.

The German Defence Minister has previously signalled her support for proposals for a new net zero target for the bloc, but in new letters to the Socialist and Liberal blocs of MEPs she sketched out plans to beef up the EU's climate strategy on multiple fronts. "I want to build new trust and partnership between the EU Commission and the EU Parliament".

MEPs then vote on the entire commission. The French were not alone to turn against von der Leyen, herself a Christian Democrat, in the socialist camp amid speculation some 44 had voted her down.