Advertisement
Features

A tough road ahead for new EU president

The new president of the European Commission, Germany's Ursula von der Leyen, has her work cut out.

956-UVDL-634
Von der Leyen bloomed with Green support

2019 Getty Images

The Germans have a saying that "elected is elected and a majority is a majority", but Ursula von der Leyen "will take office with her authority already dented" after scraping through her confirmation as president of the European Commission by "just nine votes", says The Economist.

The role, generally seen as the most important job in the EU, puts her in charge of the Commission, which manages the EU's day-to-day affairs and proposes legislation. But the narrowness of her victory, and the fact that it depended on a last minute change of heart by MEPs from the hard-right ruling parties in Poland and Hungary, means she faces a difficult task.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Von der Leyen's "razor-thin" victory is a win for national governments in their fight for control of the Commission, says Lionel Laurent for Bloomberg. The appointment of Jean-Claude Juncker five years ago appeared to set a precedent that the largest grouping in the European Parliament would get to nominate the president. But the decision to appoint Von der Leyen, previously Germany's defence minister, after closed-door negotiations between national leaders, suggests "the pendulum has swung back".

Von der Leyen's policy promises on environmental issues, social policy and gender equality may have won over enough sceptics in the socialist, green and liberal camps for her to scrape through, say Alex Barker and Mehreen Khan in the Financial Times, but it also alienated many of those in her own centre-right party, "dozens" of whom voted against her. This doesn't bode well for her chances of getting the proposals through a highly fragmented Parliament.

Still, a majority remains a majority, says Politico. Even if populists and eurosceptics oppose her proposals, she may still get much of her agenda through with the support of the greens she wooed at the last minute.It was "the most intense two weeks of my political life", she told reporters after her victory. A still tougher road lies ahead.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/519858/how-long-can-the-good-times-roll
Economy

How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019
Visit/economy/eu-economy/601422/heres-why-investors-should-care-about-the-eus-plan-to-tackle-covid-19
EU Economy

Here’s why investors should care about the EU’s plan to tackle Covid-19

The EU's €750bn rescue package makes a break-up of the eurozone much less likely. John Stepek explains why the scheme is such a big deal, and what it …
28 May 2020
Visit/economy/eu-economy/601277/germany-throws-a-spanner-in-the-eurozones-works
EU Economy

Germany throws a spanner in the eurozone’s works

A German court has told the ECB to beware of exceeding its mandate with its QE scheme. John Stepek explains what this means, and why it matters.
5 May 2020
Visit/economy/eu-economy/601247/a-battle-for-the-future-of-europe
EU Economy

A battle for the future of Europe

The struggle to pay the costs of the coronavirus crisis has exacerbated long-standing tensions about the EU’s budget. Failure to compromise could be d…
30 Apr 2020

Most Popular

Visit/economy/uk-economy/601427/covid-bounce-back-loans-and-inflation
UK Economy

What bounce back loans can tell us about how we’ll pay for all this

The government will guarantee emergency "bounce back loans" for small businesses hit by Covid-19. Inevitably, many businesses will default. And there'…
1 Jun 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/601433/commodities-possibly-the-biggest-opportunity-in-todays-markets
Commodities

This looks like the biggest opportunity in today’s markets

With low interest rates and constant money-printing, most assets have become expensive. But one major asset class hasn’t. John Stepek explains why com…
2 Jun 2020
Visit/investments/commodities/gold/601444/these-seven-charts-show-exactly-why-you-must-own-gold-today
Gold

These seven charts show exactly why you must own gold today

Covid-19 is accelerating many trends that were already in existence. The rising gold price is one such trend. These seven charts, says Dominic Frisby,…
3 Jun 2020