The European Council’s chosen one to be put forward as the future European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen’s candidacy is set to be put to a vote next week, and it is evident that she is set to have problems in securing more groups than her centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), the liberal Renew Europe group, as the S&D group is currently split on the decision. Von der Leyen could look for support in the further on the right of the political spectrum, namely the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR).
“You in this group cannot take for granted any vote next week,” warned von der Leyen an S&D MEP Javi López on Wednesday during the S&D meeting, underlining that the group is deeply disappointed about her lack of support for key policies that the Socialists believe should be at the heart of the programme of the next European Commission, including a Common Asylum Reform package.
Von der Leyen has no easy path to becoming the next head of the Commission, as even a weak majority of around 400 MEPs will mean her European Commission mandate will be seen as too weak, raising a question about her legitimacy to put forward her political programme.
In order to avoid this, von der Leyen has to secure the support of the four political parties, namely the EPP, S&D, Renew Europe and Greens/EFA, and even if von der Leyen tested the waters with ECR on Tuesday, their support would paint an even darker picture for the German mainstream conservative politician.
Von der Leyen promised to the ECR to be “softer” on rule of law, give more time and money to energy transition, and that migrants would not be imposed on countries.
Many in the European Parliament worry, however, about how credible and consistent her promises would be.