Ursula von der Leyen will replace Jean-Claude Juncker as European Commission (EC) President on the 1st of November. Her selection was a surprise and was helped by French President Macron. As a candidate from the centre right, Von der Leyen will need to get support from greens and centre left MEPs from across Europe, so she is expected to propose significant climate change policies. Her most pressing challenge will be dealing with Brexit, where she is expected to be pragmatic (and so maintain the status quo). We have yet to find out her stances on other issues like EU trade policy and industrial policy.
Why does this matter? Von der Leyen appears to be Macron’s choice, as was Christine Lagarde, for European Central Bank President, so this suggests a more dominant French role in the workings of the EU compared with the earlier Merkel dominated period. This could mean a more assertive EU on the global stage and more integration across the EU, perhaps even a closer fiscal union.
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