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EU Parliament to vote on von der Leyen on July 16

13 July 2019

MORE: President-in-waiting at European commission says she hopes United Kingdom "abandons Brexit" But Scottish MEP Alyn Smith pressed her for more detail on the matter, saying that she had already promised to support giving the United Kingdom more time. He asked: "How much time would we have?"

"We have been elected on a mandate for change and we don't see how change will be possible with this candidate".

"This is the foundation - respect for the rule of law", she said, according to an official translation.

Lamberts added, "Von der Leyen came to meet us with plenty of goodwill, but when the house is burning goodwill is simply not enough".

A broad coalition of European Union legislators who were elected in May had wanted one of the lead candidates of the respective parliament groupings to take arguably the most important job at the Commission, which proposes and implements policy across the EU. "Von der Leyen declared her readiness to take lawmakers" ideas on board as different members of the parliament named their price.

"We know that we can unilaterally revoke Article 50 legally, but could you [as prospective president] confirm for us that we could revoke Article 50 up to the very last minute, without political consequences, and that the door is open for us to do so?"

Mrs von der Leyen was speaking at a European Parliament hearing ahead of a vote on her nomination next week.

What exactly did she say about Brexit?

And she said that the bloc should harvest the economic benefits of transitioning to environmentally friendly policies. "We saw little desire to tackle tax avoidance and fraud by big corporations".

Von der Leyen, who would be the first woman to lead the EU executive, said she wanted an equal share of men and women as European commissioners.

The political groups could also use their leverage to obtain concessions on policy priorities or personnel appointments, and delay the confirmation vote for weeks or even months, as that the current Commission remains in place until November.

The largest, centre-right group, the European People's Party, supports her with its 182 MEPs.

"It is simply unacceptable that the candidate for the top job in the European Commission - the role that will shape the direction of policy in the EU for the next five years - was not prepared to answer this question".

Addressing the groups, she called for the expansion of the borderless Schengen travel area, the enlargement of the Eurozone and closer military cooperation. "We have an agreement - which hasn't been signed on both sides - and we have the backstop", she said, referring to a controversial provision in the deal negotiated by Mrs May to avoid extensive border controls on the Irish border after Brexit.

EU Parliament to vote on von der Leyen on July 16