Ursula von der Leyen, nominee to head European Union, 'hopes United Kingdom abandons Brexit'

Ursula von der Leyen signals she will not reopen Brexit talks

He met Von der Leyen, the German defence minister, alongside colleagues from the liberal-centrist Renew Europe group, yesterday, as Von der Leyen rallies votes in the European Parliament for her appointment to be approved.

MORE: The EU-Mercosur trade deal: Why this is the worst time to leave the EU The potential future president has already expressed her affinity with the Remain cause, saying she wants the United Kingdom to abandon its plans for Brexit.

"Ursula von der Leyen evaded our questions on the rule of law and democracy in Europe".

MEPs will cast their ballots next week in a secret vote, meaning more MEPs could feel inclined to break party political lines, and reject von der Leyen.

In an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit in January, Von der Leyen said the bloc should apply the same "guidelines" to China as it does to Russian Federation and must not "underestimate itself" in terms of the influence it can have on Beijing. She also stressed that the focus of her attention will be on promoting the rule of law, digitalization, competitiveness and the fight against climate change.

"I think the backstop is of utmost importance and we absolutely know how crucial this nonexistent border is for you", she said in response to an Irish MEP.

Should she succeed, von der Leyen said she wanted a gender balance at the Commission and that Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans would be her first deputy along with Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager, now the EU's competition chief.

German Defense Minister and candidate for European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gives a statement next to new elected President of the European Parliament David Sassoli after their meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, July 10, 2019.

The 60-year-old needs more than half of the votes in the 751-member parliament to be confirmed in the post next week.

Many MEPs were frustrated that national leaders chose her over some of the frontrunners from the biggest political groupings in the new parliament, following the elections in May.

"None of us is ideal and we need to know that and we need to have transparency about that". We did not hear any concrete proposal, be it on rule of law or on climate. But she needs more votes.

"It's a huge step backwards for European democracy to have someone nominated who hasn't been campaigning and hasn't been a lead candidate.", Keller said after the meeting with von der Leyen.

However, with nearly all of the groups split over her candidacy, the German conservative can not say with certainty that she has the parliament's backing. "We must define and enforce our interests in terms of China together as Europeans", she said.

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