Ursula von der Leyen nominated to stay on as EU’s top diplomat

Image source, EPA/IAEA/Shutterstock

Comment on the photo, Emmanuel Macron (right) was among the EU leaders who reached consensus to nominate Ursula von der Leyen (left) for a second term.

  • author, Bethany Bell
  • Role, BBC News, in Brussels

European Union leaders nominated current European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a second five-year term in the bloc’s top position during a summit in Brussels.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has been chosen as the next European Union Foreign Minister, and former Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa has been chosen as the next head of EU summits.

The three candidates belong to the pro-EU centrist movement.

The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on the nominations next month.

Ursula von der Leyen belongs to the center-right in Germany, Antonio Costa belongs to socialism, and Kaya Kallas belongs to liberalism.

There was resistance from Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni.

Ahead of the summit, she said the plans ignored the successes of far-right parties like her own in recent European Parliament elections.

Ms. Meloni abstained from voting in favor of Ms. von der Leyen and voted against Mr. Costa and Ms. Callas.

European Parliament approval may be a more difficult challenge.

“I would simply like to express my gratitude to the leaders who supported my candidacy for a second term as President of the European Commission,” Ms von der Leyen said after the vote.

“My goal is certainly to work for European unity and to protect European interests.”

Antonio Costa praised Ms. Kallas and Ms. von der Leyen, saying: “I am sure that our cooperation will be very successful in the service of Europe and European citizens.”

“Europe and the world are facing difficult moments, yes,” he said after his nomination.

“But the EU has shown resilience in the past, always finding strength in unity, and building unity among member states will be my main priority when I take office in December, with a focus on putting the strategic agenda set by the European Council on track and approved today.”

Ms Meloni, who heads the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists bloc in the European Parliament, was not included in talks on nominations despite the fact that the European Conservatives and Reformists bloc became the third largest group in Parliament after the European elections.

In her speech before the Italian Parliament on Wednesday, she angrily said that European voters had asked the European Union to “follow a different path than the one it has taken so far.”

Without naming names, she criticized “those who claim that citizens are not mature enough to make certain decisions,” [who believe] “Oligarchy is essentially the only acceptable form of democracy.”

Comment on the photo, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has been nominated for the post of EU foreign policy chief.
Comment on the photo, Former Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has been chosen as the new president of the European Union summits.

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