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Ursula von der Leyen: The Green Wave President?

Ursula von der Leyen: The Green Wave President?

Ursula von der Leyen, the nominee to become the next European Commission chief, has told MEPs she hopes the United Kingdom abandons its plans for Brexit.

Although it is expected Von der Leyen will be approved by the European parliament, she still faced sniping over the process of her appointment whereby she leapfrogged politicians who had declared bids to lead the commission before European elections. "The lead candidate process has not been respected which is a betrayal of the European electorate".

Brexit is scheduled for 31 October, the day before the new European commission takes office.

"We are yet to be persuaded by the green credentials of von der Leyen, and by her commitment to a sustainable Europe".

The EU, weakened by the 2009-2012 euro zone crisis, Britain's decision to quit the bloc and the rise of far-right and far-left eurosceptic parties, needs a strong Commission president to improve its fortunes, officials and experts say.

"It is unclear whether she sees this a decision for the next 50 years, if she wants to wait and see for public support to build up or if she thinks more integration now is the way to tackle the challenges facing the European Union".

Ms Von der Leyen, a 60-year-old former gynaecologist and mother of seven, spoke in favour of enlarging the eurozone and the EU's open-border Schengen area, provided that countries can meet the criteria.

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However, with nearly all of the groups split over her candidacy, the German conservative can not say with certainty that she has the parliament's backing.

In her opening remarks Von der Leyen said the rule of law was "the jewel in the crown of our work" and that the European Union needed a mechanism for upholding it in member states. With some socialists fiercely opposing her election, the support of Green MEPs was considered key for her to reach the absolute majority she needs to be elected.

The political groups could also use their leverage to obtain concessions on policy priorities or personnel appointments, and delay the confirmation vote for weeks or even months, as that the current Commission remains in place until November.

Members of Parliament will hear a statement from Ms Von der Leyen at 9am and then debate her nomination before putting it to a vote at 6pm, a parliamentary spokesman announced on Thursday. The European Parliament is due to vote on her candidacy next week.

She once again reiterated her stance in a joint press conference with current Commission boss Jean-Claude Juncker during which she expressed her desire to push on with plans for an enlarged Schengen area, an European Union army and for the bloc to be climate neutral by 2050.

Alongside von der Leyen, European leaders have choised the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as new President of the European Council, the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the French Christine Lagarde - now leading the International Monetary Fund - as the President of the European Central Bank.

The European Commission president nominee once stated that her political aim is "the United States of Europe".