Ursula von der Leyen Renominated by European People’s Party

The congress of the European People's Party voted 400 in favor and 89 against

The current president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is also the European People’s Party (EPP) candidate for the EU’s top executive post for the next five years. The decision follows a vote at the EPP congress held in Bucharest, Romania, which approved the former defense minister in the last German government of Angela Merkel as Spitzenkandidatin, or leading candidate, for a new mandate at the head of the Commission. The preference was 400 in favor, 89 against, and 10 abstentions.

“We will not allow populists to destroy the EU,” von der Leyen explained, referring in particular to the German and French groups Alternative for Germany and National Unification. “There should be no doubt about what is at stake in this election: our Europe, peaceful and united as never before, is being challenged by populists, nationalists, and demagogues, whether of the extreme right or the extreme left. The names may be different, but the goal is the same: they want to trample our values, they want to destroy Europe. We’re not going to let that happen.”

Von der Leyen mentioned the conflict in Ukraine, explaining that Putin’s supporters “want to rewrite history,” and reiterated her support for Ukraine. Then she talked about immigration: “It is we Europeans who decide who comes to Europe and under what circumstances. Not the organized crime of smugglers and traffickers.” Finally, a reference to the recent strong farmer street protests that have affected European capitals: “The EPP will always side with our farmers,” as well as the EU’s enlargement to Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia, and also the creation of a defense industry commissioner. “Democracy, prosperity, security: it is impossible to have one without the other,” von der Leyen concluded.