The European Parliament in Strasbourg, with an unexpectedly large majority, agreed to the new European Commission under the leadership of Committee President Ursula von der Leyen. Its committee received the approval of 461 MEPs, against 157 votes against and 89 abstentions. That 461 is considerably more than the 383 votes that Von der Leyen received earlier this year in her own election as president.
At the time, her own election was a piece of cake, thanks to the support of a few dozen conservative Eastern European MEPs, and despite the abstentions and opposing votes of a few dozen Social Democrats and Liberals. The lack of support at the time was mainly a sign of disapproval of the choice of the heads of state who had turned the back of the Spitzen candidate system of the European Parliament. This time the three coalition parties voted in favor almost unanimously, with the support of some twenty European Conservatives.
The Greens abstained. They wanted to vote against the Commission because of the appointment of controversial French and Hungarian candidates, and they wanted to vote in favor because of the challenging Environment and Climate Policy. United Left, British Brexiteers, conservative nationalists and Italian, Spanish and German right-wing extremists voted against it.
In her speech to parliament, Von der Leyen called the fight against climate change an existential challenge for this new European Commission. A 'Green Deal' to get Europe climate neutral by 2050 is therefore desperately needed and she called the Dutch commissioner “Frans Timmermans the right person to get this done”.
The Green Deal is our new growth strategy that should create new jobs, technologies, clean energy, fewer emissions and global standards "for the benefit of citizens," said Von der Leyen. This requires "massive investment". Its "geopolitical" committee will therefore work for the "better global order that European citizens want". She wants Europe to bieden more counterweight to the superpowers US, Russia and China.
There are also many ambitions in the field of digitization and data protection. The fact that Europeans' personal data ends up in the US with every click is not a good condition. “It's about us drafting the rules. That is an absolute priority. "
With regard to migration and asylum, it is necessary to end the stalemate between the EU countries, according to Von der Leyen. She stressed the need to reform the asylum system in a solidarity-oriented way and with stronger external borders. "But Europe will always host people who need international protection," she said.
She said she realized that in many cases the policy plans now announced can and must result in a real revolution. The conservative and nationalist groups have already said that it was precisely against this committee that they voted against.
In anticipation of the forthcoming negotiations on the multi-annual budget (2021 - 2027), Von der Leyen told her critics that today's Europe is no longer the same as that of seven years ago, and that European citizens can expect the EU to stop in seven years is the same as today.