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Ursula for President

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is on a re-election campaign tour along EU capitals

By: N. Peter Kramer - Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Von der Leyen has taken a different course at the last minute under pressure from farmers revolts all over the EU and the upcoming elections. The above-mentioned centre-left coalition was and is still furious about her move.
Von der Leyen has taken a different course at the last minute under pressure from farmers revolts all over the EU and the upcoming elections. The above-mentioned centre-left coalition was and is still furious about her move.

N. Peter Kramer’s weekly column

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is on a re-election campaign tour along EU capitals. Trying to convince political families to support her in her bid. Although it looks like there are no serious opponents, it is by no means a done deal for her. One of the reasons is, that her political group, the EPP (Christian-democrats), is refusing to rule out a kind of cooperation in the future with more right-wing parties. Think of the conservative ECR, that 5 years ago in 2019, delivered the necessary votes for VDL to secure her European Commission Presidency. With a narrow margin, because many of the liberals (Renew) and socialists (S&D) in the EP didn’t support her.

It is clear that the usual coalition of EPP, Renew and S&D, with a majority in the parliament, is bogging down. All three groups are fearing a loss of seats. Therefore the EPP keeps the hands free for different coalitions after the elections and refused to sign a declaration by a centre-left coalition between socialists, liberals and greens never to cooperate with right wing parties, especially the ECR of Giorgia Meloni, the Italian prime minister.

But also president/candidate VDL herself is not undisputed. Recently she has attacked parts of the Green Deal, the political legacy of former Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans. Von der Leyen has taken a different course at the last minute under pressure from farmers revolts all over the EU and the upcoming elections. The above-mentioned centre-left coalition was and is still furious about her move.

A public secret in Brussels is, that VDL fails to consult others when making decisions. The most unbelievable example is the dubious deal she made, without consulting her commissioners and the member-states, with Pfizer CEO Bourla. On her own, she purchased 1.8 billion corona vaccines worth around 35 billion euros. Even the brilliant EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly didn’t get a clarification of VDL, neither did the EU Cour of Auditors.

But, be not too surprised when Ursula, after the elections, will get her second term as President of the European Commission. In politics, and especially in Brussels’ politics everything is possible! 

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