Von der Leyen at risk of losing top job as her own country threatens to ditch her

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun4,2024

Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, is facing mounting opposition from her own country as Germany signals a potential withdrawal of support at the next election.

Europe’s Socialists have issued a stern warning, stating they won’t endorse von der Leyen for a second term if she continues to entertain alliances with hard-right MEPs aligned with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

The warning comes at a crucial time, coinciding with French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Germany to strategise Franco-German consensus on Europe’s political future.

Even Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his Social Democratic Party (SPD) are hinting at thwarting von der Leyen’s bid for re-election.

Katarina Barley, the SPD lead candidate for the upcoming EU election, emphasised their stance.

She said: “We will not work with the far right.”

This sentiment aligns with the collective pledge of left-leaning parties to avoid cooperation with far-right and radical factions at any level.

Von der Leyen’s willingness to consider forming a coalition with the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group has further fuelled discontent among Socialists.

Scholz warned against such a move, stressing the importance of establishing the Commission presidency on traditional party alliances.

Criticism of von der Leyen’s approach has escalated, with Nicolas Schmit, the Socialists’ lead candidate for the EU election, denouncing her willingness to engage with Meloni’s party. He highlighted the stark ideological differences, labelling Meloni as “politically extremely right-wing”.

Amid the turmoil, speculation arises about potential alternatives to von der Leyen’s leadership. Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi emerged as a frontrunner, garnering support from Macron’s camp and gaining traction in Berlin. Markus Töns, a German MP, voiced support for Draghi, highlighting his experience and suitability for the role.

The dissatisfaction with von der Leyen’s stance on coalition-building with the ECR underscores the challenges she faces in securing a second term.

Despite being the European People’s Party’s lead candidate, von der Leyen’s path to re-election appears fraught with obstacles, particularly if she fails to garner support from centre-left MEPs.

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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