Summary

Next week will be a plenary week in the European Parliament. Members of the European Parliament (“MEPs”) will meet in Strasbourg to debate and vote on the candidacy of Ursula von der Leyen for President of the European Commission. It is expected that much will depend on her performance during the debate on Tuesday, July 16, only hours ahead of the vote, as it remains uncertain whether she has sufficient support among MEPs.

Over the past week, von der Leyen has met with all the political groups in the European Parliament to seek approval of her nomination. It remains uncertain whether she enjoys the backing of an absolute majority of at least 374 MEPs. With her own party, the center-right European People’s Party (“EPP”), she can secure only 182 votes, leaving her short of another 192 votes. The Greens/EFA and the far left GUE/NGL, with a combined total of 115 votes, have already expressed their discontent with von der Leyen and will vote against her nomination. MEPs of the right-wing European Conservatives and Reformists (“ECR”) have also expressed remorse, as the EPP helped block Eurosceptic nominees for key committee chairmanships.

Von der Leyen is, therefore, mainly bargaining with the Socialists and Democrats (“S&D”) and Renew Europe (“RE”), formally the Alliance for Liberals and Democrats in Europe (“ALDE”), that have together a total of 262 votes. The opinions of the MEPs of the S&D diverge on whether to (conditionally) approve von der Leyen’s candidacy, because, for example, many German social democrats are furious about Merkel’s abandonment of a deal that would make Frans Timmermans Commission President. Both the S&D and RE have presented lists of conditions. RE demands von der Leyen to establish a sanctioning system for breaches of the rule of law in the EU; support reforms of the spitzenkandidaten (leading candidates) system; and a position for Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager (RE’s spitzenkandidat) as first Vice-President of the Commission. The S&D have presented mainly green conditions, such as a €1 trillion investment plan for sustainable development; a European Climate Bank; and the increase of emissions cut from 40% to 55% by 2030.

Meetings and Agenda

Monday, July 15, 2019

Plenary Session

17:00 – 20:00

Debates

  • Resumption of session and order of business

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Plenary Session

09:00 – 11:50

Debates

  • Statement by the candidate for President of the Commission

12:00 – 14:00

Votes

  • Election of the President of the Commission

15:00 – 20:00

Debates

  • Review of the Romanian Presidency of the Council
  • Humanitarian assistance in the Mediterranean

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Plenary Session

10:00 – 11:50

Debates

  • Presentation of the programme of activities of the Finnish Presidency of the Council

12:00-14:00

Votes

  • Numerical strength of interparliamentary delegations

15:00 – 19:00

Debates

  • B.A.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Plenary Session

10:00 – 11:00

Debates

  • B.A.

11:00 – 13:00

Votes

  • Motions for resolutions concerning debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Rule 144)

15:00 – 16:00

Debates

T.B.A.