Martin Schirdewan empfängt Ursula von der Leyen in der Fraktionssitzung der GUE/NGL
Martin Schirdewan empfängt Ursula von der Leyen in der Fraktionssitzung der GUE/NGL

Von der Leyen’s nomination is a betrayal of democracy

op-ed by Martin Schirdewan

Ursula von der Leyen may be a relatively unknown name in Europe but we Germans are familiar with her work, most recently as the country’s Defence Minister, writes Martin Schirdewan.

For an EU that claims to be working to improve transparency and accountability and hoping to reclaim its damaged reputation from populist and far-right forces, it is worrying that not enough questions are being asked about von der Leyen and her track record.

In the incredibly short period between her nomination by the Council and the confirmation vote at the European Parliament, the focus has been on political horse-trading and backroom deals. Rather than promoting an open debate about the policy issues that matter to European citizens, von der Leyen has been trying to “get the numbers” to scrape through the vote.

This is why my group, the Left in the European Parliament, has sought to refocus the debate on concrete policy questions. Europeans deserve to know the political programme of the next Commission president and whether this reflects their rights and aspirations.

In the run-up to the European elections, there was intense talk about an existential crisis in the EU. Politicians promised efforts to reverse that trend if elected. The shady deals around Ursula von der Leyen have shown that the EU is hell-bent on deepening its democratic deficit and pushing citizens farther away from its decision-making.

The Left in the European Parliament, as the only group refusing to be part of the so-called Grand Coalition talks and insisting on full transparency, will continue to be the voice for workers, the environment, feminism, peace & human rights – rejecting von der Leyen is key to this.“

The full-text article is to be found at the website of EURACTIV.