Ursula von der Leyen would back last minute revocation of Article 50

Nellie Chapman
July 13, 2019

However, a fragmented European Parliament following the May election means she has a harder task in being nominated so losing the Greens, who have 74 of the 751 seats, makes support from the centre-left crucial.

Members of Parliament will hear a statement from Ms Von der Leyen at 9am and then debate her nomination before putting it to a vote at 6pm, a parliamentary spokesman announced on Thursday.

The defense minister and compromise candidate faces an uphill battle, as several members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voiced disapproval when EU leaders chose to ditch the "lead candidate" nomination process - in only the second instance of trying to use it - when European leaders couldn't agree on any of the candidates put forward by the party groups.

European diplomats said member states expect the German defense minister to be "more Atlanticist than Oriental" and said she will attempt to establish strong ties in Washington, despite recent tensions.

Achim Post, the German delegation's vice-chair also called on fellow MEPs to reject von der Leyen.

"None of us is flawless and we need to know that and we need to have transparency about that".

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, said he hopes the German politician "doesn't lose her voice" over criticizing Beijing once she takes office.

She met with the European Conservatives and Reformists group on Monday.

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She added that it was also vital to boost the competitiveness of the EU's economy.

In her first public comments about Brexit since securing the nomination, she told British MEPs that she still hoped the United Kingdom would reverse course, but urged Britain to provide clarity for the future: "it is in our interests to have you sort things out".

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

The 60-year-old needs to secure at least 376 votes for a majority, but Brussels insiders believe she is still short of the required numbers.

The Dutch MEP Sophie in 't Veld asked whether she would be tougher in acting against violations of the rule of law and democracy than the outgoing commission, adding it was "remarkable" that Poland and Hungary had supported Von der Leyen's nomination. "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.

Like Juncker, von der Leyen is from the Christian Democrat European People's Party.

Ms Von der Leyen said she wholeheartedly supported the European Union going carbon neutral by 2050.

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