The nominee to the post of President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has addressed the Euro Parliament in Strasbourg prior to the vote which will be taken to approve her nomination this evening during the plenary session.
Von der Leyen presented her vision for the EU for the next five years. She said that a Commission led by her will embrace the principle of equality by making sure there are an equal number of men and women appointed as Commissioners.
She referred to the targets related to climate change and said that this should be ambitions, and that for the EU to be carbon neutral by the year 2050, it has to be enforced by law. Among other things she said that a carbon border tax should be implemented which the present Commission does not support. She added that part of the European Development Bank should be dedicated to mitigate against climate change.
Speaking about Brexit, Von der Leyen said that she is in favour of another extension for the UK to leave the European Union “should more time be required for a good reason”. She said that citizens’ rights and peace with Ireland will remain her priority.
Speaking about immigration and asylum she said that there should be a new treaty, which was met with disapproving comments by the Brexit Party, while proposing that the Dublin reform should be re-activated.
She said that there should be a qualified majority for foreign policy. She said that there should not be any compromises when it comes to the European rule of law.
Von der Leyen said that giant tech companies should be taxed and not allowed to just exploit the education and infrastructure of Europe.
Following her speech, the presidents of the European political groups gave their speeches, with the largest three parties, the PPE, the S & D and Renew extending a hand of compromise while the other parties clearly stating that they would be voting against her this evening.