Updated February 20th, 2024 at 12:40 IST

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen Announces her Bid For Second Term

After months of speculation, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced her bid to get re-elected in office again.

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission | Image:AP
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Berlin – After months of speculation, the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced her bid to get re-elected in office again. On Monday, Ursula announced that she will be the lead candidate for the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) for the upcoming European elections in June. The EU chief announced her candidature at an event which was being conducted by her centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Berlin. This puts her in the position to snatch a second term at the regional body's powerful executive arm that also focuses on monitoring the member nations' defence spending. 

“I ran in 2019 because I firmly believe in Europe. Europe is home to me, just like Lower Saxony is. And when the question came up whether I could imagine becoming President of the European Commission, I immediately said yes intuitively," Ursula von der Leyen said in her announcement on Monday, Politico reported. “Today, five years later, I am making a very conscious and well-considered decision: I would like to run for a second term,” she added. The former  German defence minister created history after she became the first female chief of the EU Commission. During her term, the body navigated through a deadly pandemic, and the first major conflict on European soil in decades – the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. 

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A look at Ursula von der Leyen's tenure 

A German gynaecologist and conservative politician, Ursula von der Leyen rose to prominence after she served as a minister in the administration of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel. When the world was struck with the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, Ursula secured a huge deal with Pfizer to ensure the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the European Union. However, the deal remained controversial since the terms of the contracts between the two parties and how much the European Union nationals have paid for the vaccines were never revealed. 

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With the commencement of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, the European Union under her leadership cut off most Russian energy supplies. The EU chief went on to urge the member nations to procure natural gas jointly from alternative sources to try to head off spiralling energy costs. Not only this, she has also been an advocate of the bloc's expansion eastwards. She has been in conversation with not only Ukraine but also Moldova and other Balkan states to grow the regional body further. 

What happens next? 

While the Monday announcement indicated that she will be the chosen candidate for the conservative wing of the regional body, other political groups such as the Greens and the Social Democrats — will propose their own candidates. From here, the European Parliament elections will take place across all 27 EU countries in June, which will determine the balance of power in the bloc's governing body. After the elections, the elected leaders will begin negotiations to determine which top officials will hold top posts in the body including the president of the European Council. If things go as per the schedule, all the posts in the regional body will be filled by the end of the year. 

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Published February 20th, 2024 at 12:39 IST