Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Von der Leyen needs 361 votes to keep her job. Good luck with that.

Must read

Von der Leyen has been assiduously courting Italian Prime Minister Meloni | Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

If von der Leyen abandons hope of receiving support from the ECR, she would need backing not just from Renew and S&D, but also the Greens, to make up for the shortfall. With the Greens in the mix, von der Leyen’s projected base of support would be 432 votes — more than enough to pass the threshold even taking into account a considerable attrition rate.

But nothing is less predictable than what kind of support she can expect from the Greens, who did not support von der Leyen in any systemic way back in 2019. Speaking to POLITICO, German Greens lawmaker Daniel Freund pointed out the Greens had worked closely with von der Leyen throughout her term in power and could yet offer support for her reelection, though such support would come in exchange for a “list of demands.”

“The question is: What do we get if we make a deal to work with her?” he asked. “As Greens we have a long list of demands of things we’d like to change.”

“If we continue the Green Deal, the rule of law, if that is her agenda, my prediction is that this is something very much the Greens can carry,” he added.

Yet those very commitments for the Greens could prove toxic for von der Leyen’s support among conservatives, who have specifically rebelled against key aspects of Green Deal in the last year of her mandate, namely the phaseout of the combustion engine and a nature restoration law.

Adding to the uncertainty, von der Leyen is likely to have to make any such deals in a mad-dash of negotiation following the late-June meetings of the European Council. Several political groups are pushing to hold the confirmation for the next Commission president in July, during the last plenary session before the summer recess — which leaves her an extremely narrow window in which to construct a possibly highly complex coalition deal between Renew, S&D, the EPP and the Greens.

While other factions have pressed for the deal to be done in July, Freund indicated openness to extending the timeframe until September — something EPP party president Manfred Weber has also been pushing for. More time might buy von der Leyen some breathing room to avoid a humiliation in Parliament.

“Von der Leyen is not a risk-taker,” Freund added. “She won’t want to be taking the walk of shame out of Parliament.”

Latest article