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MEPs confirm Ursula Von der Leyen as first female Commission President

MEPs confirm Ursula Von der Leyen as first female Commission President

Ursula von der Leyen - Photo EC

(STRASBOURG) - Members of the European Parliament confirmed in a secret ballot Tuesday Ursula von der Leyen as President of the next European Commission, voted in with a narrow majority by 383 MEPs.

Before the vote, which was won by more than 50 per cent of the 733 votes cast, Ms von der Leyen had outlined to MEPs meeting for their first plenary session of the new Parliament, her vision as Commission President.

Having identified the collective need for "a healthy planet as our greatest challenge and responsibility", Ms von der Leyen proposed bolder emissions targets, with a reduction of 50% to 55% by 2030 and committed to submit a plan for a "Green Deal for Europe" and a European Climate Law within her first 100 days in office. She also announced plans for sustainable European investment (also through the partial conversion of EIB funds into a "climate bank") to provide €1 trillion in investments within a decade.

Ms von der Leyen also stressed that the EU must establish an economy that serves the people. In order for this to happen however, "everyone needs to share the burden" - including those tech giants that conduct their business (and should continue to do so) in Europe, yet do not repay the people of Europe for their access to EU human and social capital.

Reiterating her commitment for a gender-balanced College of Commissioners during her term, she also highlighted that violence against women has to be tackled decisively; she would therefore seek to define violence against women as a crime in the European treaties, in parallel to completing the EU's accession to the Istanbul Convention.

Ms von der Leyen declared her commitment to rule of law as a European value, announcing that she intends to establish an EU-wide monitoring mechanism in parallel to existing measures. She emphasised that these European values also include a duty to save lives at sea and should translate into a humane border policy. She stated her support for a "new pact on migration & asylum" and Dublin Regulation reform, adding that she intends to ensure that Frontex border guards number 10,000 not by 2027, but by 2024, and that all countries should shoulder their fair share of the burden based on the principle of European solidarity.

On the matter of European democracy, Ms von der Leyen announced a two-year Conference for Europe as of 2020, in which citizens will take a leading and active role. She also emphasised the need for the Spitzenkandidaten system to be strengthened and that transnational lists should be reconsidered in future European elections. She also declared her full support for a right of initiative for the European Parliament, committing to put forward a legislative proposal in response to every resolution that is passed with a majority of Parliament's constituent members.

Ms von der Leyen is now set to take office on 1 November for a five-year term. She will then send official letters to the Member States' heads of state or government inviting them to propose their candidates for members of the Commission.

The European institutions will then hold hearings of the Commissioners-designate.


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