11 Jun 2024, 13:48
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany’s governing parties list conditions for supporting von der Leyen’s EU Commission bid

Zeit Online

Germany's government coalition parties - chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Green Party, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) - have laid out conditions for supporting Ursula von der Leyen's bid for a second term as president of the European Commission, reports Zeit Online. Von der Leyen hails from the country's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), which is currently in the opposition. She must be nominated by EU heads of state and government, and then elected in the European Parliament. That means she would profit from the support of chancellor Scholz, but also lawmakers from the coalition parties in the European Parliament.

The SPD’s lead candidate for the EU elections, Katarina Barley, said her party would stand ready to find a “democratic majority” for von der Leyen. She said that would hinge on whether the president of the European Commission seeks help from right-wing populist or far-right parties to gain more support, for example from Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni, the article reports. FDP leader and finance minister, Christian Lindner, said his party would make support conditional: Von der Leyen must reject joint debts in the EU, seek stricter control for migration, and scrap the envisaged 2035 ban on new combustion engine cars. The Green Party already said it is ready to back a second term for von der Leyen. However, Green lead candidate, Terry Reintke, said cooperation with far-right parties would be a no-go, while support for the Green Deal and democratic principles must be a guiding principle for the incoming European Commission.

Voters in Germany abandoned the parties of chancellor Olaf Scholz's coalition government in their droves at the European elections, handing the conservative CDU/CSU alliance of European Commission leader von der Leyen a clear lead. The vote also brought an unprecedented result for the far-right AfD in Germany, which came out as the second strongest party.

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