Published: Sat, July 13, 2019

European Union political groups won't back nominee before vote

European Union political groups won't back nominee before vote

She said she still hoped the United Kingdom would remain in the European Union, while indicating she had no intention to renegotiate the withdrawal deal agreed by Theresa May and EU leaders.

Von der Leyen will need at least 375 votes from MEPs in Strasbourg next week in order to be approved for the position.

MEPs will cast their ballots next week in a secret vote, meaning more MEPs could feel inclined to break party political lines, and reject von der Leyen.

"I know it was a bumpy start we had together", von der Leyen told legislators from the Renew Europe liberal group on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne of Finland, which just took over the rotating presidency of the European Council, called for von der Leyen's quick approval. "We did not hear any concrete proposal, be it on rule of law or on climate", said the group's co-president Ska Keller: "We have been elected on a mandate for change and we don't see how change will be possible with this candidate".

"It needs to be done that we get a mechanism to provide for transparent making arrangements for observing that the rule of law is upheld in all member states", she said. Now the Parliament must vote on whether to approve her appointment and getting the blessing of MEPs is still far from certain.


She also acknowledged the "bumpy start" she had gotten off to with the liberals, referencing the widespread disapproval of her surprise nomination over the candidates who had been announced before the European Parliament elections in May. "And that's why we often overlook how consistently it pursues its goals and how cleverly".

Concerns over von der Leyen's chances of obtaining the endorsement of the European Union assembly had fed rumors that the vote could be delayed, Reuters reports. "We have an agreement - which hasn't been signed on both sides - and we have the backstop", she said, referring to a controversial provision in the deal negotiated by Mrs May to avoid extensive border controls on the Irish border after Brexit.

"We insist that the voters deserve a democratic and transparent process when it comes to the choice of Commission president".

Von der Leyen, a 60-year-old former gynaecologist and mother of seven, switched between English, French and German as she spoke in favour of enlarging the euro zone and the EU's open-border Schengen area, provided countries meet the criteria.

Iratxe Garcia of Spain, who leads the Socialist and Democrat (S&D) group, has said she could not speak for her entire group on whether or not they would vote in favor of von der Leyen.

The group's acting president, Martin Schirdewan, said: "We realise she does not have a vision that is based on social justice and on human rights".

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