The Brief: Von der Leyen begins talks with Macron in Paris

The Brief: Von der Leyen begins talks with Macron in Paris
By Shoshana Dubnow
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After narrowly winning the majority of MEP votes and securing her spot as the next President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen chose Paris as the location of her first official visit. Watch the Brief from Brussels to learn how hers and French President Emmanuel Macron's views align.


Newly-elected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen began her first official visit in Paris on Tuesday.

She needs the support of French President Emmanuel Macron to resolve the composition of the commission. After meeting with von der Leyen, Macron stressed their aligning views on EU policies, including climate change.

"This is a new chapter of the ambitions that were shown by our citizens last May and that you have firmly conveyed in the speech you gave in front of the EU parliament," Macron said. "That will be the backbone of your project, which, I must say, I fully agree with, as does France."

Von der Leyen further affirmed her shared position with Macron.

"We both agree to work for a strong and united Europe, for an ambitious Europe when it comes to climate, digital, the economy, growth, but also defence and security," she said.

Von der Leyen owes some of her success in getting a slim majority of MEP votes to the fact that she brought several elements of Macron's EU agenda into her speech in front of the hemicycle last week.

Pieter Cleppe, the head of Open Europe in Brussels, said her stance on Brexit might not differ much from former European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

"It's good, I think, that she has said she is open to an extension, but I don't think she will be a big difference compared to her predecessor," he said. "Perhaps the fact that Martin Selmayr is gone that will be a positive factor because he was quite belligerent."

Selmayr, the outgoing Secretary-General of the European Commission, has been considered the catalyst behind many of Juncker's more controversial policies.

Von der Leyen's softer stance on Brexit vastly differs with Boris Johnson, who won the spot as the UK's new prime minister on Tuesday.

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