EU’s ‘stunning disregard’ for voters as critics demanded Von Der Leyen was rejected
Vaccine row: European Union warned about contracts by Wallace
Brussels is in turmoil as it faces major pressure from member states to get its COVID-19 vaccination programme on track. The bloc dithered earlier this year when deciding which vaccines to approve and fell way behind rivals like the UK in ordering doses to send out to its citizens. This, along with production issues with pharmaceutical companies, has seen tensions rise and the EU even threatened to block the exporting of some jabs made within the bloc.
It has nearly resulted in a series of diplomatic crisis’s, particularly with the UK, before a summit moved to dampen threats issued by the Commission.
Ms von der Leyen herself has admitted that the rollout of vaccines has not gone to plan, and in her home country of Germany, around 26 percent of people believe she is responsible for the fiasco.
But before her election in 2019, the European Council’s decision to nominate Ms von der Leyen to the post was heavily scrutinised.
The European Parliament signed off on the nominee, which commentator Cas Mudde – a professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia – claimed “officially killed off the Spitzenkandidaten system” of electing a President.
EU’s ‘stunning disregard’ for voters as critics demanded Von Der Leyen was rejected (Image: GETTY)
Ursula von der Leyen alongside Jean-Claude Juncker – who she replaced (Image: GETTY)
The Spitzenkandidaten system sees the political group with the most seats in the European Parliament given a nomination and mandate of who they want to lead the Commission.
However, two years ago, this method was shafted and instead Europe’s leaders decided who they wanted to nominate, with Ms von der Leyen securing the role.
Following the 2019 European elections, some commentators argued that results were a “setback for populists”, who reportedly “gained votes, but lost initiative”.
The election saw more people turn out to vote than had done in 20 years, which Ms Mudde said “was celebrated as a victory for democracy”.
Ursula von der Leyen with Boris Johnson during Brexit talks (Image: GETTY)
“For the sake of its own relevance as well as that of European elections, the European Parliament should reject the nominees and propose its own list of candidates, who defend not only the interests of the European institutions but also those of liberal democracy.”
Ms von der Leyen won the race to becoming European Commission President with 383 MEPs voting for her, with 327 against.