Von der Leyen comes from a conservative party, liberal in its economic ideology. Still, the President defends measures that seek fairness and flexibility, not characteristics of her political allies. She also is a key player in the EU budget design, which is the main political tool in the EU. Moreover, as a geopolitical commission, Von der Leyen will enhance the EU’s global leadership on economic issues.
Establishing an EU fair tax system
Regarding the scope of the European Union itself, von der Leyen wants to complete the Capital Market Union and also establish a fair tax system for multinational companies that are currently avoiding taxes. These facts could lead us to think that she seems to be quite a progressivist in this topic taking into account that she comes from a traditional party. Moreover, she made statements in which she said that she would be more flexible towards Italy and their debt.
Key player in EU long-term budget design
The European Union Multiannual Financial Framework is one of the most important instruments in EU politics. The European Commission is the institution that proposes the annual budget, which is then negotiated by the Council and must be endorsed by the Parliament. The annual budget, a financial tool that stipulates the quantity of money that is allocated to develop EU policies, must remain under the Multiannual Financial Framework guidelines, which is also proposed by the European Commission, which also has the responsibility for spending. Also, the European Commission is the institution that implements the EU budget. It is, therefore, a field in which von der Leyen’s ambitions in shaping EU policies can be introduced and approved. Certainly, it is a political instrument in which the EC President has a big influence.
In the recently approved long-term budget, von der Leyen’s Commission has focused on investing in strategic fields that can empower the European Union and, indeed, give a boost to its resilience and prosperity. In other words, von der Leyen has proposed to invest in a socio-economic recovery which seeks to revitalise the Single Market as well as to invest in the green and digital transitions, two of her main political objectives during her mandate. It also aims to reinforce programmes for external action in order to make the EU global presence even more noticeable.
Thus, Ursula von der Leyen has in the EU budget plan, especially in the long-term one that sets the limits of every year budget, the opportunity to influence the decision-making processes in all EU policies.
A stronger EU through economic agreements
In addition, von der Leyen is aware that one of the most powerful tools of the EU in achieving its goals lies in its economic pressure and agreements. That means that we can expect an active EC President in both, multilateral fora and bilateral meetings with potential trading partners. We have already seen von der Leyen being willing to deepen trade relations with some powerful states, such as Japan.
Von der Leyen wants to make Europe stronger in the global dashboard, and to do it she does not have to limit her action in the defence field, but also she needs to increase the economic weight of the EU.