EU Commission president nominee, Ursula von der Leyen, yesterday declared herself a ‘remainer’. She said it would be a good idea for the UK to have a further extension and that the door to revoke Article 50 is open, “because we want you in.” She also poured cold water on the idea that the EU would reopen Brexit negotiations.
She made the comments at a series of question and answer sessions with different groups in the European parliament yesterday, including with the Green group, which was livestreamed.
Molly Scott Cato, who heads up the seven-strong UK Green MEP delegation, welcomed the stance:
“Those wanting to stop a disastrous crash out of the EU should feel greatly encouraged by the comments of the potential future Commission president. She is clearly open to helping us have the extra time and space we need as a country to resolve this deeply damaging episode in our country’s history.”
However, despite encouraging signs on Brexit, the Green group in the European Parliament announced shortly after the hearing that they would not be supporting her nomination for president. Molly Scott Cato said:
“The EU is about far more than Brexit. Green MEPs across the EU were elected on a mandate for change and we don’t see how change will be possible with this candidate. It was clear throughout the hearing that our agenda on issues from climate and chemicals to taxation and trade is very different to that of a presidential nominee who is relying on right-wing support to secure her position.”
The European parliament is due to vote on the president for the EU Commission next week at its plenary session in Strasbourg. Von de Leyen will require the support of at least 376 MEPs to be elected as Commission President.