BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union lawmakers are likely to confirm Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen as president of the bloc’s executive Commission in a secret ballot next Tuesday, but there is a risk she could fall short of the absolute majority she needs.
Many members of the European Parliament are angry that EU leaders, horse-trading over top posts at a bruising summit last week, brushed aside the so-called “Spitzenkandidaten”, the main parliamentary groups’ candidates for the job.
Defense - Minister - Scrapes - Majority - Start
If the 60-year-old conservative German defense minister scrapes through with a slim majority she could face a shaky start to her five-year term, especially if she has to rely on the far right and nationalists from eastern Europe to get her across the line.
Worse, if it emerges that British members of the European Parliament swung the vote for von der Leyen, there may be questions about her legitimacy after the United Kingdom leaves the EU on Oct. 31, the current deadline for Brexit.
Von - Der - Leyen - Woman - Commission
Von der Leyen would be the first woman to lead the powerful European Commission, which oversees trade negotiations, antitrust rulings and broad policy for 500 million Europeans.
If lawmakers reject von der Leyen, who was nominated by EU leaders on July 2 in what some branded a backroom deal, it would be another reputational blow for the bloc, rocked in the last decade by the euro zone debt crisis, Britain’s decision to leave and the rise of far-right and far-left eurosceptic parties.
Von - Der - Leyen - Parliament - Strasbourg
Von der Leyen will address the 751-member European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, and then lawmakers will hold a debate and proceed to vote for or against her in a secret ballot at 6 p.m. (1600 GMT).
She needs the backing of an absolute majority, which would normally be 376. The assembly is currently four members short, however, which means she may need 374...
Wake Up To Breaking News!