Ursula von der Who?
As of next week, the European Commission will have a new President; Ursula Von Der Leyen.
A logical next question could be “but what is an Ursula?”, which is mainly due to the typically Brussels way she was appointed. She was nowhere to be found on a ballot paper, presented no manifesto until she was chosen and is the result of an age-old game of chess between France and Germany. You can tell by the “look what politicians fell off the truck this time” policy that the EU is doing its utmost to improve transparency.
But, more about Ursula. Sadly, those who have heard of her are generally not full of praise.
In 2006, when she was still the minster for Family affairs (whatever that might be), she introduced a law that allowed the German government to blacklist internet sites. The law was meant to tackle online child abuse, but what it actually did was give online predators more freedoms, and it allowed the government to censor the internet without checks and balances. The only good that came of it was her snappy nickname: Zensurzula.
After ruining Germany’s reputation in the field of privacy and censorship, she moved on to become the Minister of Defence where she really came into her own. During her tenure, lucrative defence contracts were awarded to outside consultants without proper oversight, to informal networks. The investigation into the matter is yet to be concluded, so there is a chance she’ll be leaving Brussels in cuffs.
The two scandals combined, have led Ursula to become one of Germany’s least favourite politicians with only 40% of Germans thinking she should be EU president.
All in all, with a record of bad ideas, unpopularity and alleged corruption, Ursula could have seen the nod to become EU president from miles away. Not only did it allow Merkel to get rid of her least favourite minister, but it also made sure the Commission stays conservative and German.
At least, that was the idea.
Last week Ursula’s speech outlined what she has in store for the EU, through a European Green New Deal. While the blatant plagiarism was to be expected from Ursula, the chances are that the plan will fare better in EU than it would in a place where people believe global warming is either invented by China or caused by Obama and microwave ovens.
Ursula’s Green New Deal vows to cut emission across the EU by 50% by 2030 to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. She’s also called for more gender equality, worker’s rights and fair taxation.
The list goes on with many more things that are so Christian that the Christian Democrats who spawned her are likely throwing bibles at their televisions.
While you can’t ever be sure with Ursula, judging by her plans, she’ll spend the next five years flipping the finger to her former Christian overlords while trying to salvage both the EU’s climate and her reputation. What more motivation could one need?