Ursula Von der Leyen: Not even German are happy with Juncker’s (German) replacement | World | News


Under a deal reached by the 28 member governments on Tuesday after long negotiations, current German defence minister Ms Von der Leyen – an advocate of a European army – will replace Mr Juncker as head of the EU’s executive Commission. The decision must now be ratified by the European Parliament, along with the nomination of Christine Lagarde as head of the European Central Bank. However, research carried out by German pollsters Emnid on behalf of German national newspaper Bild, which interviewed a total of 508 people on July 4, indicated Ms von der Leyen’s compatriots had grave doubts about the decision.

The vast majority of those asked – 71 percent – believed it was right that a German should hold the post after Mr Juncker, with just 14 percent opposed to the idea.

However, they were conspicuously unenthusiastic about the choice of Ms von der Leyen, with 53 percent seeing her nomination as a “deception of voters”, compared with 37 percent.

Even among supporters of Ms von der Leyen’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) 51 percent likewise felt deceived.

In addition, just 33 percent of those surveyed thought Ms von der Leyen was suited to the post, with more than half – 51 percent – disagreeing.

Mr Juncker said the process to appoint Ms von der Leyen was not transparent and 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.

Former German MEP Hans-Olaf Henkel, who stepped down from his role last Sunday (June 30), was scathing in his criticism of Ms von der Leyen last week.

He told Express.co.uk: “One needs only to study the reactions of the officers of the German Army, the Bundeswehr, to get an objective picture of her qualification: a big sigh of relief!

“Von der Leyen is responsible for the biggest disarmament of a German army after its defeat in two World Wars.

“German Tanks don‘t run, German planes are grounded, German navy ships are anchored due to lack of maintenance, funds and personnel.

“Instead, Von der Leyen’s priorities have been Kindergarten for female soldier’s children.

“Today, the morale of German troops is at an all time low.”

Mr Henkel, a former President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), added: “On top of that, her Federal Ministry is fully emerged in a financial scandal, currently under investigation by the German Bundestag.

“At at the end of this inquiry it is not unlikely to see her responsible for absurd financial transfers of literally millions of tax payers’ euros with the help of a relative of hers to the consultancy of McKinsey!

“Rarely have I seen such a complete failure being promoted to a ‘higher position’!

“That leaves me with two conclusions: First, she is deliberately being promoted to make room for a much needed change at the head of the German Bundeswehr.

“Second, this move demonstrates the real importance of the President of the European Commission.”

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