The chairman of the European Commission was to become the leader of the European People's Party Manfred Weber. In the elections to the European Parliament in May this year, the party won the majority of seats, and the Bavarian Weber was the official party candidate for the post of head of the highest executive body. However, in the summer, the heads of the EU countries forming the European Council could not agree on the candidacy of Manfred Weber: they “did not see” the head of the European People’s Party faction as president of the European Commission.
After further consultations, their support was received by the candidacy of the Minister of Defense of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen, proposed by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. All members of the council voted for her - with one abstention, and Merkel herself abstained. She was forced to this by the position of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, a member of the ruling coalition. The SPD rejected the candidacy of the Minister of Defense. And the head of the German government could not neglect the opinion of a coalition partner and vote for her protege. Big politics - big difficulties!
Upon learning that she was being nominated for the presidency of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen announced that she would resign as Minister of Defense. Even regardless of the outcome of the vote. But she was approved: 383 out of 747 members of the European Parliament voted for her. To be elected, Ursula von der Leyen would have had a direct majority of 374 votes. Consequently, she was elected with a minimal margin.
She will take office on November 1 and will replace the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Jean-Claude Juncker. Von der Leyen will become the second German politician to hold the post of the EU’s highest executive body (the first chairman was West German lawyer and diplomat Walter Hallstein in 1957-1967) and the first woman to head the European Commission.
The policy statements made by her in mid-July convince her: she intends to lead the “European government” from a constructive standpoint, seeking a clearer and more effective political organization of the European Union and further enhancing its role in the world community. Her vision of the fate of a united Europe is more logical, sober and, so to speak, collected than that of many deputies.
The new star of European politics was born in 1958 in Belgium. This is symbolic: her father, Ernst Albrecht, then worked in the European Commission, in the office of European Commissioner Hans von der Greben.
Ursula’s maiden name, Albrecht, is widely known in Germany for the political, business, scientific and creative activities of her representatives. Among them, a prominent statesman of the Kingdom of Hanover of the XIX century Karl Franz Georg Albrecht, shipowner Karl Albrecht, who carried out sea transport communications between Germany and the Soviet Union, doctor Karl Eduard Albrecht, conductor George Alexander Albrecht, who stood behind the console of various world-famous orchestras, including Symphony Orchestra of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic. In 1976–1990, Ursula's father led the government of Lower Saxony.
She studied at several universities in Germany and the UK, studied such dissimilar disciplines as archeology, economics, and medicine. She worked as a gynecologist, received the title of doctor of medicine. Her husband, Heiko von der Leyen, is a well-known cardiologist, professor at the Higher Medical School of Hanover and Stanford University (USA).
Since 1990, Ursula von der Leyen, a member of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), worked in the Commission for Social Policy of the CDU Land Office in Lower Saxony. In 2004, unexpectedly for many, she was elected to the Presidency of the CDU, and in 2005 was appointed Federal Minister for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth.
This post seemed to be the pinnacle of her political career. Moreover, Ursula von der Leyen, the mother of seven children (and herself from a large family, she has five brothers), was the best fit for this place. But later, with no less success, she led such departments as the Ministry of Labor and Social Security and the Ministry of Defense.