Reaction of the AEDH to the appointment of Ursula von der Leyen

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Since the appointment by the European Council of Ursula von der Leyen as candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission, it had become clear that if the European Parliament refused to confirm this choice, the European Union would be plunged into a political crisis like it had never experienced before. There will be no crisis, with 383 votes cast, narrowly allowing the former German Defence Minister to become the first woman to head the European executive.
Because it avoids further months of behind-the-scenes negotiations for the distribution of top jobs, the election of the woman who becomes the worst elected president in the history of the European Commission could be seen as good news. But the institutional crisis avoided cannot hide the fundamental setback that this election marks in the construction of a democratic European Union.
Through their important participation in the 2019 European elections, the European citizens had affirmed their desire to reappropriate the European construction. By abandoning the Spitzenkandidaten system and appointing someone who did not take part in the election campaign and who is not legitimated by the ballot box to head the European Commission, the European Council is showing how little it values the citizens’ vote.
Considering that democracy must be one of the pillars of the European construction and that there can be no European Union without a truly recognised citizen participation, the AEDH can only regret this new democratic regression.
In her speech to the European Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen pledged to give the European Parliament a “right of initiative” and to organise a citizens’ conference on Europe. AEDH will ensure that these promises do not remain a dead letter.
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