Climate a ‘signature issue’ as Ursula von der Leyen anointed EU chief

(Climate Change News, 16 Jul 2019) Lawmakers backed the German politician as European Commission president by a slim majority on Tuesday, after she met calls to strengthen climate ambition.


The European Parliament confirmed Ursula von der Leyen as the first women president of the European Commission in a nail-biting vote on Tuesday that put climate change centre stage.

The German former defence minister scraped the majority she needed, with 383 votes to 327. Both the liberal Renew Europe and the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) groups announced they would back her nomination less than an hour before the secret ballot started.

Climate change played a decisive role after liberal, socialist and green blocs all demanded von der Leyen strengthen her climate platform as a condition for their support.

In a statement, S&D said members had been “sceptical” of her candidacy but after an “intense group meeting” acknowledged she had met their core demands, including on climate action.

“We will be vigilant and make sure that over the next five years she will deliver on the promises she made to us. She must remember that without us, there is no pro-European majority,” said S&D leader Iratxe García.

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Climate Change News, 16 Jul 2019: Climate a ‘signature issue’ as Ursula von der Leyen anointed EU chief