After a slate of last minute empty promises, sufficient to convince the centre ground, Ursula von der Leyen managed to cobble together a majority to install her as Commission President for the next five years.
The Left group in the European Parliament has maintained that von der Leyen is the candidate of the status quo, chosen in an obscure backroom deal and supported by some of Europe’s most far-right governments.
Von der Leyen’s “Green Deal for Europe” is not commensurate to the climate emergency the planet is facing, with insufficient targets rehashed from the previous Juncker Commission, amounting to a cynical greenwashing of climate policy.
Her tax reform proposals for big tech, while laudable, represent only part of the picture, ignoring the elephant in the room: European tax havens and the institutionalised tax breaks already given to big corporations at the expense of public services.
Speaking after the vote result, acting GUE/NGL President Martin Schirdewan said:
“Many saw von der Leyen’s background as Germany’s Defence Minister as a step towards an EU army and a tougher Fortress Europe. Her speech did not disappoint, paying lip service to the discourse of EU values and saving lives at sea but promising a stronger FRONTEX and praising the divisive European Defence Union.”
“The Left will continue to present progressive proposals that work for ordinary people and deliver on social justice. We want a Europe that stands for workers’ rights, feminism, environment, human rights and peace. We will resist von der Leyen’s status quo policies that have entrenched inequality and fuelled the far right.”