Ursula’s First Week at Work

Will von der Leyen survive the first 100 days with her new Commission?

Making everyone happy, except Manfred.

May I remind you that before the general election for the European Parliament they promised us that the President would be coming from the parliament. In order to increase democracy within the European Union, the major parties created the Spitzenkandidaten system. For the Social Democrats this was Frans Timmermans, for the Conservatives it was Manfred Weber and the Liberals send Margrethe Vestager into the race. But, instead of celebrating democracy and keeping their promises, European politicians decided the screw it and Merkel and Macron made a deal in backroom talks. 

Germany, in the person of von der Leyen, should handle politics while France, in the person of Lagarde, would take care of the money. The heads of States were happy now (well the important ones (sorry Malta)) but the parliament was fuming of anger. “How dare you?!” did Greta scream in opposition. (Maybe she was talking about something else, this is the internet, fact check me if you are not too lazy) Jokes aside, in order to have the parliament vote in favour of von der Leyen the leaders of the different parties had to be convinced. And what is the easiest way to convince politicians full of conviction heavily opposed to the backroom talks and the sacrifice of the Spitzenkandidaten system? Right, you offer them attractive positions within your new commission in backroom talks. 

Frans Timmermans- the friendly pre-School Teacher

Frans will be one of the executive vice presidents of the European Commission and Commissioner for the Environment tasked with Ursula’s European Green Deal. This seems like a logical choice to me. If I had to choose someone for the position of the Commissioner for the Environment I would choose someone directly affected. If sea levels rise the Netherlands will be second in line to drown (Sorry! the

The Maldives but the Dutch have better dams), if Frans wants to protect his homeland he better do a good job. This also goes hand in hand with the Social Democrats focussing on the environment and with this their biggest threat. Not global warming but European Green parties stealing their voters. 

Margrethe Vestager- the other friendly pre-School Teacher

Margrethe will be another one of the executive vice presidents of the European Commission and Commissioner for Digital affairs. There are not too many things to say about her other than that she is pretty good at her job. Not only do multinational companies fear her (How are you doing Volkswagen?) but even I find it rather difficult to critique her. Surely there are always more issues to improved than issues solved but she can only do so much. During her time as Commissioner for Juncker, she delivered good work and if nothing goes horribly wrong she will continue to do so. 

Manfred Weber- the janitor of the pre-School

Sorry Manfred, during the election, not even Germans knew about you. And I cannot imagine sending you to the United States negotiating tariffs on cars with Donald Trump. You are simply the janitor. Necessary for the work in parliament but god forgive do not make any executive decisions anywhere else but in Bavaria. By the way, growing a depression beard is not helping your case. Better luck next time (life). 

Ursula’s Commission- what YOU should think!

At the end of this article, I have left you without a clear opinion about Ursula’s first week. Should you be outraged and protesting on the streets against the European construct that if it were to apply to the European Union for membership it would be rejected for not being democratic enough. Or should you lean back in your chair and wait for the next election and see if it changes to the better since there are more or less competent people in charge?

Well from a pragmatic point of view, relax. Indeed Ursula did not come from the parliament as promised, but, this puts her under immense pressure by the parliament. Instead of picking two bureaucrats for the positions of Timmermans and Vestager she had to include real MEPs in her Commission. Creating more balance and responsibility to the parliament. Furthermore, they were able to form a Commission, otherwise, we would need to vote again. 

And who of you readers would actually vote again and more importantly, who of the 50.66% of voters who votes would actually vote again. This was the best option for democracy on the table whether you like it or not. 

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

Group Member of Communications