'After weeks of frenzied backroom wrangling, European leaders on July 2 nominated four federalists to fill the top jobs of the European Union. The nominations — which must be approved by the European Parliament — send a clear signal that the pro-EU establishment has no intention of slowing its relentless march toward a European superstate, a "United States of Europe," despite a surge of anti-EU sentiment across the continent.
Following are brief profiles of the nominees for the top four positions in the next European Commission, which begins on November 1, 2019 for a period of five years.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, the daughter of a prominent EU official, has been nominated to replace Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the European Commission, the powerful bureaucratic arm of the European Union. Von der Leyen, of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), was a compromise choice after the candidacy of Manfred Weber, a favorite of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was rejected by critics, led by French President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron had favored the candidacy of European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, a Dutch Social Democrat. Timmermans, however, was rejected by the Visegrád Group — the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia — due to his frequent criticism of their stance against mass migration and judicial reforms.
Von der Leyen has called for the creation of a European superstate. "My aim is the United States of Europe — on the model of federal states such as Switzerland, Germany or the U.S.," she said in an interview with Der Spiegel. She has also called for the creation of a European Army.
At the same time, however, von der Leyen has been roundly criticized at home and abroad for her performance as German defense minister. During her tenure, Germany's military has deteriorated due to budget cuts and poor management, according to Parliamentary Armed Forces Commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels.
"The Bundeswehr's condition is catastrophic," wrote Rupert Scholz, who served as defense minister under Chancellor Helmut Kohl, days before von der Leyen was nominated to the EU's top post. "The entire defense capability of the Federal Republic is suffering, which is totally irresponsible."'
Read more: European Union: Toward a European Superstate
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