Current German defence minister Ms Von der Leyen is poised to take over from Mr Juncker as head of the EU’s executive wing in accordance with a deal reached by the 28 member governments on Tuesday. The decision must now be ratified by the European Parliament, along with the nomination of Christine Lagarde as head of the European Central Bank. Speaking a day before crunch talks with Ms von der Leyen as she tries to rally support for the vote, Mr Giegold emphasised his party’s backing was far from guaranteed.
He said: “This is how the European Parliament is to be disempowered”.
His observation was a reference to the process by which Ms von der Leyen was selected, which even her predecessor Mr Juncker has said lacked transparency.
Mr Giegold told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag: “Without top candidates with Europe-wide electoral lists, nothing works for Ursula von der Leyen.”
He criticised her nomination, suggesting voters in the recent European Parliamentary elections had been promised top candidates, only for Ms von der Leyen, someone who is largely unknown outside of Germany, to get the nod.
He did not rule out support for her, but said it must be linked to providing the assembly with added powers.
He explained: “Giving Green support to a Council candidate like Mrs von der Leyen is only possible if the EU Parliament is now massively strengthened.”
The Greens recorded notably success in May’s European Parliamentary elections, taking 11.7 percent of the vote across the continent.
They won 74 seats, giving them almost ten percent of the total number of 751.
There are now seven Green MEPs representing United Kingdom constituencies.
Mr Giegold is not the only person in Brussels who has expressed reservations about her appointment.
Speaking in a press conference on Friday, Mr Juncker himself said the process to appoint her marked an unwelcome break with the practice of choosing parties’ lead candidates.
He told a news conference in Helsinki on Friday: “The process was not very transparent.”
He said that his appointment five years ago was transparent as he was chosen by leaders after having campaigned in European elections.
The former EU president added: “Unfortunately it did not become a tradition.
“I was the first and the last spitzenkandidat.”
“This was reference to the German word for lead candidate for the post of European Commission President.
(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)