Ursula von der Leyen: Socio-Cultural

Ursula von der Leyen

Von der Leyen’s political approach to socio-cultural issues is interesting. In some aspects, as a reform of the asylum system to protect refugees’ human rights, she has created a Directorate-General that aims to defend the European way of life. As a consequence, we can think of this measure as a discriminatory one, but on the other side, she is willing to improve the Dublin Convention. Another aspect that characterised the politician is the influence feminism has had on her past decisions. 

Christian values and humanitarian spirit vs. The European Way of Life

Maybe because of her Christian values, above all the one of helping the people who need it, she is looking for a reform of migration policies based on humanitarian values for refugees. Although this may seem very leftist, she defends that migrants should integrate and adopt EU culture and values, as she defended in the past in Germany. 

Furthermore, she has proposed an EU Commission portfolio to “Protect our European way of life”. That means that the EU values – solidarity, peace of mind, and security – are the ones that should rule in the EU territory, and the action taken in it must be grounded in these values. Especially in the fields of education, migration, security, and employment. She declared: “we must address and allay legitimate fears and concerns about the impact of irregular migration on our economy and society”. 

Ursula von der Leyen is not considered a discriminatory politician as she has hosted refugees in her own home, and defends a fairer asylum system in the EU. Despite that, she is going to defend the values in which she was educated fiercely.

A better immigration system

Regarding immigration, she is compromised with the topic, and, predictably, she asks for better cooperation between the Member States, as well as a reform of the Dublin Convention in order to achieve a more balanced migration and asylum system.

A feminist conservative?

Von der Leyen is the first woman who has reached the presidency of the European Commission. This is a big step towards teaching a society that women can manage big political issues, and to reach gender parity in the EU institutions. But, von der Leyen feminism goes far beyond that fact. She is fiercely compromised with gender parity, as her past can show us. 

When she was a defence minister with Merkel’s Cabinet, she implemented several measures to achieve gender equality through better inclusion of women in the military sector. For example, she introduced mentoring programs for women leaders, included new uniforms for pregnant soldiers, and upgraded family accommodations. As a mother of seven, she made sure through her policies that everyone understood that raising children is a task of both men and women and thus the need for better conditions.

Furthermore, while she was the head of the Family Affairs Ministry, she passed a law regarding parental leave that showcases how she aims at full inclusion of parents in the family life, taking away the burden of women to raise children.

It is expected, then, that von der Leyen may pass legislation to achieve a better gender balance in the EU institutions.