EU Parliament to vote on von der Leyen on July 16

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The defense minister and compromise candidate faces an uphill battle, as several members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voiced disapproval when EU leaders made a decision to ditch the "lead candidate" nomination process - in only the second instance of trying to use it - when European leaders couldn't agree on any of the candidates put forward by the party groups.

The European Parliament would vote on Ursula von der Leyen's nomination to head the EU Commission on July 16, a parliament spokesman said.

But she also said: "The UK must sort its side of things on Brexit", in reference to what European Union governments say is a lack of clarity from London on what kind of future relationship it wants with the EU.

Alongside von der Leyen, European leaders have choised the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel as new President of the European Council, the Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell as High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the French Christine Lagarde - now leading the International Monetary Fund - as the President of the European Central Bank. "Ms von der Leyen is simply not a Commission president that the Green group can support".

"In case we re going to have a Brexit, I am convinced it is crucial the tone and attitude with which Brexit happens", she said.

Prime Minister Antti Rinne of Finland, which just took over the rotating presidency of the European Council, called for von der Leyen's quick approval. She also stressed that the focus of her attention will be on promoting the rule of law, digitalization, competitiveness and the fight against climate change.

"This is the foundation - respect for the rule of law", she said, according to an official translation.

Yesterday night the Greens rejected her nomination after a live-streamed hearing at the European Parliament. "We don't know her", Bas Eickhout, a Green lawmaker from the Netherlands, told Reuters.

Mrs von der Leyen, who is now the German defence minister, is due to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November if approved by parliament.

While meeting with the free-market liberal group Renew Europe, she said it was a "brilliant idea" to hold a citizens dialogue about the future of Europe. He asked: "How much time would we have?" With some socialists fiercely opposing her election, the support of Green MEPs was considered key for her to reach the absolute majority she needs to be elected.

Ms von der Leyen has now met with all the Parliament's political groupings in the hope of convincing them to support her.

Should she succeed, von der Leyen said she wanted a gender balance at the Commission and that Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans would be her first deputy along with Danish liberal Margrethe Vestager, now the EU's competition chief.

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