EU Commission candidate von der Leyen grilled by legislators

Ursula von der Leyen signals she will not reopen Brexit talks

Members of Parliament will hear a statement from Ms Von der Leyen at 9am and then debate her nomination before putting it to a vote at 6pm, a parliamentary spokesman announced on Thursday.

"I think it's a good deal, but it is your responsibility and your noble task to sort this out", she added, signalling that if she heads the EU's executive branch, she would not reopen negotiations.

Many MEPs were frustrated that national leaders chose her over some of the frontrunners from the biggest political groupings in the new parliament, following the elections in May.

Mrs von der Leyen, who is now the German defence minister, is due to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November if approved by parliament.

She has previously berated European leaders for paying too little attention to the actions of China, saying Beijing is putting on a business-friendly front while "attacking economically" against the EU.

She added that it was also vital to boost the competitiveness of the EU's economy.

She said the Irish border "backstop" - which aims to avoid border controls between European Union member Ireland and British-governed Northern Ireland after Brexit - was "precious, important and has to be defended" in any Brexit deal.


MORE: The EU-Mercosur trade deal: Why this is the worst time to leave the EU The potential future president has already expressed her affinity with the Remain cause, saying she wants the United Kingdom to abandon its plans for Brexit. "Von der Leyen declared her readiness to take lawmakers" ideas on board as different members of the parliament named their price. "We absolutely know how crucial this non-existing of a border for you is, and therefore having the backstop in the Brexit deal is", she said in response to a question from an Irish MEP. He asked: "How much time would we have?"

"We are yet to be persuaded by the green credentials of von der Leyen, and by her commitment to a sustainable Europe".

The group's acting president, Martin Schirdewan, said: "We realise she does not have a vision that is based on social justice and on human rights".

Iratxe Garcia of Spain, who leads the Socialist and Democrat (S&D) group, has said she could not speak for her entire group on whether or not they would vote in favor of von der Leyen.

However, Mr Kelleher said that he was unhappy that she failed to give any position on Ireland's corporate tax rate or assure that it will be respected. "We want you to stay", she told one British lawmaker in the assembly.

Speaking in a mix of English, French and German, Von der Leyen emphasised her European outlook, reminding MEPs she was born in Brussels and attended the city's European school with Dutch, German and French classmates.

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