Strasbourg (AP) - Ursula von der Leyen had exactly 134 days to warm up between her election as President of the European Commission in July and the last vote of the European Parliament on her team this Wednesday.
The track was longer and bumpier than expected for the CDU politician, because a veto of the parliament against three of its 26 commissioners spoiled her punctual start to November 1.
Von der Leyen has already promised great things for the first 100 days: the move to a green, modern and fair Europe that works better for everyone.
But she begins her mandate in a delicate time shortly before the Brexit appointment and in stormy weather conditions in several EU countries. The fact that for the first time in more than 50 years, Germany is again the top of the commission, is also critically eyed. Adversaries lurk in the hedges. It will not be easy for von der Leyen.
WHAT THE LEYEN WANTS TO DO
The former Secretary of Defense insists on a self-confident and geopolitically strong Europe between the US and China, a Europe that is learning "the language of power", as it recently said in Berlin. It wants a genuine defense union and a strong, well-meshed defense industry, a deeper monetary union and a digitized economy. But in large part, their program is red-green, with ambitious goals in climate protection and the commitment to ur-social democratic concerns such as minimum wages. All this is under the cloudy motto: a Europe that wants to achieve more.
WHAT IT IS GOING TO DO
The first and perhaps biggest project of the new Commission is the "Green Deal", which should make Europe the "first climate-neutral continent" by 2050. It is a tremendous feat of strength that Leyen wants to tackle in no time. Already on the 11th of December the program should be available. This requires a tightening of the climate target for 2030: by then, the greenhouse gases of the EU should be 50 to 55 percent below the 1990 level. Responsible for the mega-theme is the powerful Commission Vice Frans Timmermans.
WHO SUPPORTS BY THE LEYEN
Von der Leyen literally became a surprise candidate of EU leaders for the most powerful EU office in June. The name of the French President Emmanuel Macron is the first to have thrown in the round, but also Hungary's right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban was thrilled by the seven -fold mother, as well as the right-wing Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. His PiS party helped the candidate in the election in the European Parliament allegedly to gossip-thin majority of only nine votes. Von der Leyen emphasizes her support: "All heads of state and government have nominated me together."
WHERE GEGNER LAUERS
Exactly this career but critics see as a burden. The EU Parliament was passed over in the selection, the top candidates for the European election booted. Not only a number of members of parliament are taking offense to this day, but also Timmermans, who, as the leading candidate of the Social Democrats, wanted to become the head of the commission and only became the deputy. There could be a hitting and stinging, some speculate in the EU Commission and in Parliament.
For laws, the Leyen will also have to collect their majorities from Christian and Social Democrats, Liberals, Greens, Leftists or Conservatives. The potential partners remain suspicious. "Their headlines sound good, but the devil is in the details," says, for example, the Green Party leader Ska Keller. Left-wing leader Martin Schirdewan says that Leyen promised everything to everyone. "Now she should deliver." And the SPD MP Udo Bullmann complains that von der Leyen is "structurally dependent" on the goodwill of the EU countries. A public complaint of her "inventor" Macron has already infected her in the dispute over the French commission post.
HOW IT WORKS
Despite everything, von der Leyen is in a good mood and energetic. Born the daughter of former EU official Ernst Albrecht himself in Brussels, she feels like a full-blooded European and throws herself into the new task with a mixture of enthusiasm, pathos and practical reason. Instead of a Brussels apartment, she moves into the Berlaymont headquarters a 25-square-foot room - saving on safety costs and time to get there, she calculates. But she shows herself, as in her long time as a minister in Berlin, not only very disciplined, but also controlled. Above all, she gives her trust to her longtime employees who have been brought to Brussels. All the others are not quite smart.
From the Leyens political guidelines