Germany’s Ursula von der Leyen secured European parliamentary approval on Tuesday to become the first female European Commission president after she won over socialists and liberals with her vision of a greener, fairer and rule-based Europe.
Gaining the support of both groups, on top of endorsement by her fellow conservatives, is expected to give her legitimacy, allowing her to tackle controversial issues such as climate change, trade and maintaining democracy in the bloc.
As head of the EU executive, von der Leyen will be in charge of trade negotiations, economic and climate policy for 500 million Europeans and antitrust rulings involving powerful tech giants.
She secured 383 votes to 327 against, the speaker of the assembly, David Sassoli, said. The threshold was 374.
The liberal group Renew Europe and the Socialists and Democrats Group had earlier announced support for the 60-year-old, who this week resigned as German defense minister, regardless of the EU lawmakers’ decision.
Earlier on Tuesday, von der Leyen set out her climate goals, going further than current targets, in a bid to convince both socialists and liberals.
She added she would propose a Green Deal for Europe in her first 100 days in office, turn parts of the European Investment Bank into a Climate Bank and introduce a Carbon Border Tax.
Von der Leyen promised to defend the rule of law, took aim at US tech giants’ low tax bill in Europe and said she would update EU-wide norms for tackling the migrant issue.
In her biggest cross-party promise, von der Leyen offered to help allow the chamber the right to propose new legislation – currently the Commission’s prerogative.