BERLIN — The European Green Party sharply criticized Ursula von der Leyen on Friday for her plan to run for a second term as president of the European Commission without running in elections to the European Parliament.
POLITICO reported on Thursday how von der Leyen told her local branch of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the state of Lower Saxony that she would not join a list of candidates vying for a seat in the European Parliament during European elections next year.
But von der Leyen could nevertheless become the head of the center-right list, or Spitzenkandidatfor her re-election as Commission president – a decision she “has not yet made”, according to an official close to von der Leyen, who remained anonymous because they are not authorized to speak publicly .
In an emailed statement to POLITICO, the co-chairs of the European Green Party, which represents the pan-European grouping of national green parties, castigated von der Leyen for her decision.
“This would be an unacceptable denial of European democracy,” if confirmed, wrote the co-presidents, French senator Mélanie Vogel and Austrian MEP Thomas Waitz. They added that “as a citizen, you have the right to know who your vote will put in power as the next President of the European Commission.”
If von der Leyen proposes his name as Spitzenkandidat For his pan-European center-right European People’s Party (EPP), without running on a list in Germany, his name would indeed not appear on any ballot paper.
However, it could probably appear on election posters or during election debates in the European Union, which could dispel some criticism from the Greens that citizens would not vote directly for the Commission president – one of the most important positions. most powerful of the European institutions.
Avoiding running on a list would also allow von der Leyen to avoid a German election campaign, which could take up a lot of time and energy.
A Commission official, also on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly, told POLITICO that even if von der Leyen had decided to run for a seat in Parliament, his name would only have ‘to appear on the ballot in the German state of Lower Saxony. Saxony. Indeed, the CDU vote in the European Parliament in Germany takes place via the state. On the other hand, a potential EPP campaign Spitzenkandidat would allow her to present herself to citizens across the continent as the center-right candidate to head the next Commission.
Vogel and Waitz urged von der Leyen to quickly clarify whether she intends to run as a candidate. Spitzenkandidat: “She needs to stop hiding.”
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