European Commission is raring to fight


Ursula von der Leyen intends to go to war

«Prosperity rests on the foundation of security. When it comes to security, there is no more pressing issue than Ukraine. Europe will stand by Ukraine for as long as it takes, giving it more financial and military support», she said in her March 7 keynote speech at the congress of the center-right European People’s Party (EPP) in Bucharest.

There, she was given carte blanche: the 56-year-old «Frau Von» to head the party list for the upcoming European Parliament elections in early June. This may help her eventually retain her high position in the European bureaucracy’s league table.

The results of the secret ballot of her fellow party members are noteworthy: out of 801 delegates, only 400 supported her. Only 89 dared to vote against her. It turns out that 312 people abstained. Observers explained such a strange outcome by the fact that the choice in favor of Ursula was «highly expected» (!). Those who took a neutral position voted this way out of desperation. And also to show that their Bucharest congress was not at all a CPSU congress, where they voted on command.

The fact is that von der Leyen, who had crushed all the alternative contenders, was the only candidate for nomination at the finish line. The association, where she is the leader, is one of the largest on the European platform: it includes 49 collective members, as well as national parties from 27 countries. And, imagine, there was not a single brave person in its ranks who dared to compete with the authoritarian head of the European government. The last person who had the desire, but at the last moment refused to compete with a certified gynecologist and mother of seven (!) children, was the Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. Indeed, if we compare her with Ursula, the Baltic representative looks different.

«There are 90 days left until the European Parliament elections. Now it’s time to try to convince people and win their hearts. Let’s win these European elections», von der Leyen said after the nomination.

Now the only threat that could prevent Ursula is the possible success of Euroskeptics in these elections. In fact, the excitement about getting in as the first person on this very election list is surprising. If we talk about the post of the head of the European Commission, which Ursula seeks to get for a second term, it is given to the candidate not by the results of the battle for the mandates of the European Parliament, but by the decision of the European Council. That is, by the will of the EU leaders, who do not choose, but appoint the head of the European Cabinet of Ministers (read, European Commissioners).

So why did Ursula make all this fuss with the party list? Probably, she decided to be on the safe side and increase her legitimacy. «Frau Von» was accused of behaving almost like «the monarch of all Europe», and there was no reliable backing for her. If the EPP becomes the ruling party again according to the results of the elections to the European Parliament, the reappointment of its leader as the head of the European Commission will look different, more solid. And if Ursula will be defeated (she has enough ill-wishers), the parliamentary mandate will not disappear.

At the Bucharest congress, the triumphant von der Leyen promised her colleagues that she would «make efforts for the peace, prosperity and security of Europe».

In case of reappointment, she intends to create the post of European Commissioner for Defense in the government (for the first time in the history of the European Commission). The main contender is already known — it is Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg. He is predicted to instantly move from the NATO main cabinet to the post of «Ukrainian watchdog». That is how it was dubbed in the Western media.

«Frau Von» has already sold the base for her personnel initiative. On March 5, the European Commission presented (again — for the first time in the history of the EU) the Defense Industry Strategy, which provides for the growth of military production by more than 20% and reduction of dependence on foreign manufacturers (primarily from the U.S. and South Korea). At the same time, a €1.5 billion support program was approved. These funds are supposed to be allocated from the EU budget in the period from 2025 to 2027.

«We need to take more responsibility for our own security, and this is regardless of the outcome of the US presidential election in November», said the EC vice-president, Danish Margrethe Vestager.

The European Defense Industry Programme (EDIP) suggests that EU countries «should spend at least 50% of their defense budget on intra-EU procurement» by 2030. By 2035, this share should increase to 60%.

In addition, EU countries are required to make at least 40% of defense purchases collectively by 2030.

«To improve the readiness of the European defense industry, member states need to invest more, better, together and in a European way», the European Commission said in a statement.

Ursula von der Leyen, as she is known, was removed not so long ago from the waiting list for the North Atlantic alliance’s vacated post of secretary general. Chancellor Olaf Scholz was against it, keeping in mind her unsuccessful experience as chief of the Bundeswehr. He, moreover, did not want to see a representative of the opposition CDU in this key military-political post.

Let me remind you that to be elected NATO Secretary General, a unanimous decision of all 32 leaders of the alliance member states is required. But for reappointment to the top salary in the European Commission, only a qualified majority is required (there are 27 states in the EU).

So Ursula hopes that she will have another chance to make some noise. Not in NATO, so in the European Commission…