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European Parliament confirms Ursula von der Leyen as European Commission President

Tuesday 16 July 2019

The newly elected European Parliament has voted to confirm the first female President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Ms von der Leyen previously served as the Defence Minister in the German Federal Government.

Parliament currently comprises 747 MEPs, therefore the total number of votes required to confirm the nomination was 374 votes. Following a secret ballot of these members, it emerged that 383 votes had been cast in favour of confirming Ms von der Leyen, with 327 against and 22 abstentions. She will take office on 1 November 2019 for a five-year term.

The Commission President-elect will now officially contact the head of state of each Member State, inviting them to propose a candidate to join the College of Commissioners.

The European Council, in agreement with the Commission President-elect, then adopts the list of candidate commissioners (one for each Member State - although the UK has indicated it will not nominate a candidate). The Commissioners-designate will then appear before parliamentary committees of their proposed portfolio, with these hearing likely to take place late September/early October).

Each committee will then draw up an evaluation of the suitability of the candidate, which will be sent to the Conference of Committee Chairs. Following discussion, these are then sent to the President of the Parliament, as well as to the Conference of Presidents to conclude the process of the hearings.

The full Commission, including the Commission President and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, then needs to be approved in a single vote of consent by Parliament. If the President and Commissioners have been approved by Parliament, they are formally appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority.

Hearings of the nominees in Parliament’s competent committees are scheduled to take place between 30 September and 8 October. The vote on the approval of the full College of Commissioners will then likely be held during the plenary session between 21-24 October.

The new Commission, along with the new ECB President, are due to take office on 1 November. The new European Council President will take office on 1 December.