The Brief: von der Leyen wants to move into Berlaymont

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By Jack Parrock
The Brief: von der Leyen wants to move into Berlaymont

Brussels is having to defend the decision of it's incoming new president Ursula von der Leyen after she ordered a living quarters to be created next to her office.

"I don't think it's ever been considered the need for a residence to be created for the president. As a Commission we just grew and made decisions as they came," EU Commissioner Gunther Oettinger explained.

They also insist the plan for her to move into the Berlaymont will save money and commuting time.

"There are many arguments in favour of the new president being able to stay here overnight - namely security," Oettinger said.

But a fundamental principle of the European Union is to protect workers rights, and European workers groups are worried about the example von der Leyen is setting.

"You shouldn't have to be at your office morning, noon and night. You shouldn't have to answer your phone morning, noon and night. So it's very worrying the message that she's sending out about being constantly present. She has such a great example as a woman, as a mother, having a really good career, but you shouldn't have to live at work to be successful in your career," Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation Esther Lynch said.

Commissioner President-elect von der Leyen is set to make the Berlaymont her home for 5 days a week when her mandate begins in December.

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