Ursula von der Leyen nominated to stay on in top EU post

Image source, EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Comment on the photo, Emmanuel Macron (right) was among the EU leaders who reached a consensus to nominate Ursula von der Leyen (left) for a second term.

  • author, Bethany Bell
  • Role, BBC News, Brussels

European Union leaders nominated current European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a second five-year term in the bloc’s top position during a summit in Brussels.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaia Kallas has been chosen as the EU’s head of foreign affairs, and former Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has been chosen as the next chair of EU summits.

The three candidates belong to the pro-European Union centrist movement.

The European Parliament is due to vote on the nominations next month.

Ursula von der Leyen is a centre-right in Germany, Antonio Costa is a socialist, and Kaja Kallas is a liberal.

This idea has faced resistance from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

She said before the summit that the plans ignored the successes of far-right parties such as her own in recent European Parliament elections.

Ms Meloni abstained from voting for Ms von der Leyen and voted against Mr Costa and Ms Kallas.

European Parliament approval may be a more difficult challenge.

“I would simply like to express my gratitude to the leaders who supported my candidacy for a second term as President of the European Commission,” Ms. von der Leyen said after the vote.

“My goal is certainly to work for European unity and to protect European interests.”

Antonio Costa praised Ms. Kallas and Ms. von der Leyen, saying: “I am sure that our cooperation will be very successful in the service of Europe and European citizens.”

“Europe and the world are facing difficult moments, yes,” he said after his nomination.

“But the European Union has proven its resilience in the past, always finding strengths in unity, and building unity among member states will be my main priority when I take office in December, where I will focus on setting the strategic agenda agreed by the European Council today on right track”.

Ms Meloni, who heads the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) bloc in the European Parliament, was not specifically included in talks about nominations despite the fact that the ECR became the third largest group in Parliament after the European elections.

Speaking to the Italian parliament on Wednesday, she said angrily that European voters had asked the EU to “follow a different path from the one it has followed so far.”

Without naming names, she criticized “those who claim that citizens are not mature enough to make certain decisions, and [who believe] And that oligarchy is essentially the only acceptable form of democracy.”

Comment on the photo, Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Kallas has been nominated for the position of Head of Foreign Affairs of the European Union
Comment on the photo, Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has been chosen as the new president of the European Union summits.

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