New chief at the European Commission - Von der Leyen takes charge
Of German nationality, but born and raised in Brussels, Ursula von der Leyen is the first female President of the European Commission, and belongs to the EPP’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). She has a background in economics and physics and is a qualified medical Doctor, and between 2005-2019 she served as a Minister for Family Affairs and Youth, of Labour and Social Affairs and finally of Defence. She was the longest-serving official in Merkel’s government, and the first woman to take up the role at the Defense Ministry.
She has not emerged unscathed from this extended period at the heart of the German government. She has been accused of doctoring her PhD themis to accusations that she mishandled procurement at the Defence Ministry.
Having been nominated by the EU heads of state and government to become Commission President, Von der Leyen had to go on a charm offensive to win over MEPs, many of which were uneasy and disappointed that one of the Spitzenkandidaten would not become President. In the subsequent negotiations with the Parliamentary Groups to secure their support for her candidacy, Von der Leyen developed a six political priorities to focus, in the hope of receiving the backing of the party groups:
Von der Leyen built her agenda for Europe around 6 headline ambitions: