EU’s von der Leyen wins backing for second term as EC president

Brussels: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday won the backing of her German centre-right party for a second term, putting her in a strong position to clinch another five years running the European Union’s executive body.

At a meeting of the party leadership, Germany’s opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) gave their support to von der Leyen to be their candidate for Commission president. It confirms a widespread assumption that von der Leyen would seek another term.

The 65-year-old former German defence minister is now likely to become the candidate of the pan-European centre-right umbrella group, the European People’s Party (EPP), at a congress in Bucharest in March.

“I am taking a very conscious and well-considered decision. I would like to run for a second term in office and I am very grateful to the CDU for nominating me as the top candidate for the EPP today,” von der Leyen said at a news conference following the party meeting in Berlin.

The first woman to hold the job, von der Leyen steered the EU through the Covoid-19 pandemic, the formal exit of Britain from the bloc and the ructions following Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

She would begin a second term at a time when Europe is focusing on how to strengthen its security, with Russia waging a war on its borders and the possibility of former US President Donald Trump returning to the White House.