Huge embarrassment for Ursula von der Leyen as EU forced to postpone her appointment

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Huge embarrassment for Ursula von der Leyen as EU forced to postpone her appointment 1

The former German defence minister will not replace Jean-Claude Juncker, as European Commission president, as expected on November 1. She has been forced to scrap the schedule after failing to win the approval of MEPs in the European Parliament for her top team of commissioners. After a number of embarrassing defeats, Ms von der Leyen was forced to ask France, Hungary and Romania to put forward new candidates.

Paris’ nominee, Sylvie Goulard, was her most high-profile casualty and the rejection by MEPs sparked a bitter row between Brussels and Emmanuel Macron.

The French President blamed Ms Von der Leyen for the defeat after she apparently promised to win the EU Parliament’s support for his candidate.

EU Parliament officials are preparing to push back a confirmatory vote, which was scheduled for October 23, amid fears Ms von der Leyen will not have found three alternative candidates.

Jaume Duch, the institution’s spokesman, said it would be impossible to hold the vote without new nominations.

“The new calendar depends on the appointment of the new candidates,” he said.

David Sassoli, the EU Parliament’s president, is expected to announced the delay after meeting senior MEPs tomorrow.

But Mr Duch confirmed that senior MEPs have already left out the confirmatory vote from next week’s draft agenda.

“Parliament waits for the three new names to restart the procedure immediately,” he added.

EU leaders will tomorrow hold talks with the German, who is set to attend her first European Council summit.

One senior EU diplomat said: “It looks like we won’t be able to manage this by November 1, it’s not a new thing and we’ve seen it all before.

“But we need discussion on how to proceed.”

The source added: “Things have clearly started on a footing that is not constructive, that is what leaders want to hear from her.”

Mr Macron is yet to put forward a new candidate and has not signalled when he plans to make a decision.

Whereas Ms von der Leyen has not yet announced that she will accept Hungary’s next nomination – Olivér Várhelyi, who is the country’s permanent representative to the EU.

The Romanian government has since collapsed after Rovana Plumb was rejected by MEPs, only further complicating the selection process.


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