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  • New EU Comission President Ursula von der Leyen

    New EU Comission President Ursula von der Leyen | Photo: Twitter / S&D Group

Published 17 July 2019

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen is in fact still under investigation in Germany for allegations of wrongdoing in regards to awarding of large defense contracts.

Angela Merkel’s Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been named as president of the EU commission, the most powerful job within the organization. There were no other candidates and the outgoing commission proposed her, with the EU parliament being given the option to either accept or reject. 

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Von der Leyen is a member of Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrat party and was approved by the EU parliament with 383 votes in favor, and 327 votes against. The former defense minister is in fact still under investigation in Germany for allegations of wrongdoing in regards to awarding of large defense contracts. The commission is the most powerful body within the EU, effectively the executive of the body. 

In a surprise move, she scored the post thanks to the nomination of the Socialists and Democrats Group, which includes center-left parties such as the German Social Democrats, French Socialist Party and Britain’s Labour Party.

The nomination of the social democratic grouping was agreed upon in a private meeting of its legislators. Many have criticized the lawmakers for electing a right-wing figure without consulting those they represent, raising questions about democratic accountability within the organization.

Laura Parker, a Labour candidate at the recent EU elections, said via twitter; “This was not what I campaigned for when I stood for Labour for the European Parliament. It’s not what Labour stood for either.” Within the Labour EU parliamentary group a majority of its MEP’s opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s nomination in previous leadership elections.

Speaking upon her appointment, Von der Leyen said she would support a further extension on Brexit negotiations if there were a "good reason," despite both candidates for Britain’s next prime minister pledging to exit on the agreed deadline in October, with or without an exit deal.

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