HDZ MEPs Support Von der Leyen, Others Not Sure

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 5, 2019 – Ursula von der Leyen has the full support of the European People’s Party (EPP) to become European Commission President, but she has not yet secured votes from other parliamentary groups, Croatian members of the European Parliament said in Zagreb on Friday.

Dubravka Šuica, a member of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) and deputy chair of the EPP group in the European Parliament, said she regretted that the concept of spitzenkandidat had failed, adding that the EPP did not want to “block the processes” agreed in Brussels and would support the Commission President nominee.

Tomislav Sokol (HDZ/EPP) said: “As far as the EPP is concerned, there will be no problem about the confirmation of Ursula von der Leyen.”

After lengthy negotiations, the European Council on Tuesday nominated German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU/EPP) as the next President of the European Commission, after the lead candidates Manfred Weber of the EPP and Frans Timmermans of the Social Democrats were rejected.

“The point is that the strongest party has the right to nominate its candidate for the highest position. With the new candidate democratic legitimacy was preserved because the EPP is a relative winner” of May’s European Parliament elections, Sokol said at a press conference held to introduce the newly-elected Croatian MEPs.

Attending were Dubravka Šuica, Karlo Ressler, Tomislav Sokol and Željana Zovko of the HDZ, Biljana Borzan and Tonino Picula of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), and Valter Flego of the Istrian Democratic Party (IDS).

Ruza Tomašić of the Croatian Sovereignists, Predrag Fred Matic of the SDP, Independent Mislav Kolakušić and Živi Zid’s Ivan Vilibor Sinčić did not attend. Tomašić and Matić excused themselves, while Kolakušić and Sinčić gave no explanation.

Zovko said she is “very pleased with the choice of Von der Leyen” because she is advocating the EU’s southeastern expansion, unlike Timmermans who is opposed to further enlargement. “We have the best possible solution,” she said.

Borzan, a deputy chair of the Socialists group, said that their support for the EPP’s candidate has not been agreed yet, even though Italian Socialist David Sassoli has become President of the European Parliament.

“Von der Leyen is facing a difficult task of winning a majority,” Picula said, adding that those who did not honour the concept of spitzenkandidat contributed to a degradation of the European institutions.

Flego said that Von der Leyen would first have to present her platform to his Renew Europe group, formerly known as the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), as Sassoli had done, after which this group would decide on whether or not they would support her.

“It is less important who is at the European Commisson’s helm and who the commissioners are, but it is very important that we know what these people will do,” Flego said.

More news about the European Parliament can be found in the Politics section.


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