Ursula von der Leyen on the brink as EU boss faces huge challenge from Right-wing MEPs

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun29,2024

Ursula von der Leyen is by no means guaranteed a second term as EU chief, a Brussels insider has said – because the European Parliament could still shoot down her candidacy.

Meanwhile, one MEP has suggested the European Commission President’s theoretical majority in the assembly is “razor-thin” – and predicted she may come to regret having alienated Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Ms von der Leyen was approved for a second term by leaders at a meeting of the European Council yesterday.

Antonio Costa, a former Portuguese socialist prime minister, was nominated to take over as the next European Council President and Kaja Kallas, the Estonian Prime Minister known for her tough line on Russia, was endorsed as the bloc’s top diplomat to replace Josep Borrell.

The trio were anointed by leaders at a summit in Brussels despite reservations from far-Right officials including Ms Meloni and her Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban.

Mr Costa’s nomination only needed the leaders’ approval, and he will start in his new role in the autumn.

However, Ms von der Leyen and Ms Kallas require the approval of the European Parliament, with voting scheduled for July 17.

Pieter Cleppe, editor of BrusselsReport.eu, who formerly headed up the Brussels office of the Open Europe think tank, told Express Ms von der Leyen’s confirmation was “by no means certain”.

He explained: “Italian PM Meloni is now disappointed. Perhaps a good European Commission portfolio can convince Meloni, but if von der Leyen works with Meloni, quite a few MEPs from within the EPP-S&D-Renew ranks may vote against VDL.

“Working with the Greens may just work, but then a lot more EPP MEPs may end up voting against her.”

Michiel Hoogeveen, a Dutch MEP and a member of the Right-wing JA21 party, told Express.co.uk: “Indeed it is a razor-thin margin in the European Parliament.”

Referring to the continent-wide vote which saw Right-wing parties make substantial gains, he added: “I think it was very unwise to not have Meloni involved in the negotiations about EU’s top jobs.

“She is a clear winner of the elections.

“And while the European Conservatives and Reformists is not needed for von der Leyen’s majority in Parliament, extending an olive branch to Meloni could have given her a much more comfortable position in the European Parliament vote.

“Now she needs every single vote coming from Christian Democratic parties, socialists and liberals.

“Only a few dissidents within these groups could kill her hopes.

“And I have already heard quite some colleagues (even some from EPP) who are no longer willing to vote for her.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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