The German Christian Democrat Ursula von der Leyen (60) has become the first female President of the European Commission. With her plans and a passionate speech she won over a majority of the parliament today: 383 votes while she still had 374 to be appointed. But can she keep all her promises?

It’s a strange day in Strasbourg. Nobody knows what the world will look like after the vote at the end of the afternoon. Do we then have a new boss from Europe called Von der Leyen, or does the German drip off?

Since her nomination, two weeks ago, she has left a not too good impression with the various political groups. Apart from its own Christian Democrats, nobody wants to support VDL yet. Some fractions are very clear (“No!”), Others may want to, but then a lot of conditions must first be met. If not, then unfortunately.

Then it is a little past nine and Ursula von der Leyen takes the floor. For forty minutes she tries to convince the parliament of her good intentions, plans and vision. She speaks clearly and with determination, everyone already agrees. She focuses on the middle parties, because that is where the most votes can be obtained. And she comes with promises.

About the climate of course, because the criticism was that she was too vague about it. There will be a plan, a “Green Deal” within one hundred days, to ensure that Europe is climate neutral by 2050. And in 2030, CO2 emissions were not reduced by 40 percent, but by at least 50 percent.

About women. “I am so proud,” she says, “that I am the first woman here.” She promises that at least half of her committee will be women.

About employment. She wants a European minimum wage and measures against youth unemployment.

About migration. ,, 70,000 refugees drowned in the Mediterranean. It is our duty to save those people. The EU needs humane borders and needs to protect refugees, while at the same time tackling human trafficking. ”So compassion, but coupled with decisive action: the asylum system must be modernized.

About democracy and the rule of law. She no longer wants to mumble European norms and values. For the countries that do, there must be a “new system” that will tackle this behavior.

About the Spitzen candidate system, a clear guide to parliament, because there is a lot of dissatisfaction about the way in which Von der Leyen has been nominated. She was not a Spitzen candidate, unlike Manfred Weber and Frans Timmermans (both lost weight), among others.

“That must be better, it is a supplement for European democracy. And note: I am your natural ally in this regard. “

But in the end, a speech is just a speech, as she admits immediately. It’s about policy. And it still pinches there. Because she can make the above promises, and even more so, but she is dependent on others to keep them.

The President of the Commission, for example, is nominated by European leaders. And a few of them, certainly not the least, are pertinently against the automatic candidacy of the Spitzen candidate who received the most votes. The current committee chairman can think of everything, but has no say in it.

The “new system” to tackle transverse countries will encounter a lot of resistance from these countries and their allies. And there are already the necessary proposals to alleviate the asylum problem, but they do not get any further than the European Council, because the leaders cannot agree. Von der Leyen will therefore have to go shopping there first.

Even for the appointment of at least half of the women in her committee, she will have to fight hard. A good number of Member States have already nominated candidates, and they are generally men. The Dutch candidate is also a man: Frans Timmermans. To some she will have to say: come back with a woman. Some here already fear that women will be flogged with light wallets. Although in the meantime she herself has created a scoop: never has a woman been the boss of Europe.

The parliament has therefore decided to trust Von der Leyen. But under certain conditions, and with a minimal majority: 383 votes, where 374 were needed. “Our support is a weapon with which we hold you liable,” warns the Italian Five Star Movement. And the European Social Democrats: “We support Ms Von der Leyen as long as she keeps her promises.” The PvdA is voting against, “as a protest against the non-transparent procedure of the Council.”

After the vote, Von der Leyen is aware of the meager majority.

“I realize that there is a lot of anger about the procedure followed with the Spitzen candidates. But at the same time I am glad that we have obtained a pro-European majority within two weeks. “

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