The European Parliament has confirmed German conservative Ursula von der Leyen, as the next president of the European Commission by 383 votes to 327 against.
Ursula von der Leyen will be the first woman to hold the EU’s top job. Earlier onTuesday, von der Leyen outlined her political priorities, setting ambitious policy goals on climate change and migration, and supporting a stronger role for the European Parliament. She also called for unity, in the wake of major gains by eurosceptics May's European elections.
“Anyone that is with me in wanting to see Europe grow stronger and to flourish and blossom can count on me as a fervent supporter. However, anyone that wants to weaken or divide Europe or rob it of its values will find in me a bitter opponent,” von der Leyen said.
Von der Leyen already had the support of conservatives, but needed backing from the Socialists to win it, MEPs like Croatia's Social Democrat Biljana Borzan.
“She was very convincing, determined. She gave us what we wanted to hear in her speech. She focused the most on the issues that the social democrats were insisting on, obviously aware that this is her main obstacle. She did not dedicate her speech to issues that concern the EPP or the Liberals, but on ones that the Social Democrats care about, because she knows she can count on the EPP and the Liberals. With us the situation is quite tense, so she really made an effort to give us a reason to support her," Borzan told HRT.
HDZ MEP Dubravka Šuica said that it was important that von der Leyen heard about the differences between the EU’s west, east, north, and south. She also
“I believe that during this commission’s term and as was promised by Mr. Juncker, Croatia will join the Schengen Area. As far as the Eurozone is concerned, we have to meet the criteria, and I hope they will be fair. I believe Ursula von der Leyen will understand all that and take our positions into account.
Valter Flego, the Istrian Democratic Assembly MEP belonging to the liberal Renew Europe group, said he spoke to von der Leyen at a group meeting.
“She said she would be a great ally in supporting Croatia joining the Schengen Area and I am looking forward to that,” Flego said.