Ursula von der Leyen to announce bid for second term as head of European Commission

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers her speech at European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers her speech at European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2024. Copyright AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias
By Euronews
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The 65-year-old head of the European Commission is expected to announce she'll run for re-election at a meeting of her party in Berlin on Monday.

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Ursula von der Leyen is expected to announce her bid for a second term as head of the European Commission. 

She is set to make the announcement on Monday during a meeting of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in Berlin.

Until now, Brussels-born von der Leyen had only hinted at the possibility of running again for the EU top job, avoiding clearly stating her intentions despite mounting pressure. 

The 65-year-old suggested she might run again at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, saying that if she were to have a second term, she would increase defence spending and install a defence commissioner.

In September 2023, Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told Euronews he expected von der Leyen to run for re-election this year based on her State of the Union speech.

"It was really a speech focused on continuing to implement the Green Deal, digitalisation, the Ukrainian EU accession process, etc., but then also dealing with the consequences of the decisions taken in her last term," he told Euronews. 

Von der Leyen at the time did not mention her possible candidacy for a second term.

"It was very difficult for me to not look at this speech and also view it, quite frankly, as an electioneering speech," Kirkegaard said. He was correct - but it's not yet clear whether von der Leyen has enough political support to be re-elected.

To campaign for the role, she must receive the backing of two other parties within her European People’s Party (EPP). 

The centre-right, pro-European political party sits in the EU Parliament, including a total of 83 parties from 44 countries. 

She then needs to win a vote at the EPP’s Congress in Bucharest in March and wait for the result of the European Parliament election on 6-9 June. At the moment, EPP leads the polls for the June elections. 

To win, von der Leyen would need the support of a majority of members of the new European Parliament.

If re-elected, she will be in office for another five years.

Von der Leyen took office on 1 December 2019, becoming the first woman to fill the EU's top job. She had already made history once in 2013, becoming Germany's first female defence minister. 

In her role as the European Commission's president, she has led the bloc through some challenging times - including the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of living crisis and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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