Ursula von der Leyen: First Woman President of EU

Ursula von der Leyen: First Woman President of EU

 Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen

German politician Ursula von der Leyen will take over from the outgoing EU President Jean-Claude Juncker as the new European Union President from the 1st of December 2019. Ursula von der Leyen was strongly backed by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to elevate to her new role and position. Under Angela Merkel, the German politician served from 2005 till date as the longest-serving member in the Cabinet. Her immense skills in the political arena over the years and loyalty towards German Chancellor have paid off well for her career.

Ursula von der Leyen is the member of CDU – Christian Democratic Union, the centre-right party. CDU is EU’s counterpart of the EPP – European People’s Party. The EU under Jean-Claude Juncker has failed on many fronts in his 5-year term from 2014 to 2019. Ursula von der Leyen has huge challenges ahead of her new beginning as the President of the European Union. It will be interesting, how she would perform with all the chaos among EU nations and world at large.

 Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen has emphasized that as the new EU President, her top priority is dealing the existential threat of Climate Crisis. She would ensure the end of carbon emissions by 2050 by unveiling the ‘Green Deal’ in the European Union. The ‘Green Deal’ will be unveiled on the 11th of December 2019 by Ursula von der Leyen.

In her first speech, she stated, “This is an existential issue for Europe and for the world. How can it not be existential, when 85% of people in extreme poverty live in the 20 countries most vulnerable to climate change? How can it not be existential when we see Venice under water, Portugal’s forests on fire or Lithuania’s harvests cut by half because of droughts? This has happened before, but never with the same frequency or intensity.”

 Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen has even appointed a new College of Commissioners, which is headed by the European Union’s first female President. The new college of Commissioners was approved by the European Parliament. It was interesting to see Ursula von der Leyen’s popularity among EU members, who gave her a sounding victory with 461 votes to 157, with 89 abstentions. She was given a larger majority as compared to Jean-Claude Juncker.

Ursula von der Leyen’s ‘agenda for change’ has already begun even before she has taken the office of the European Union. However, it will be fascinating to see how she would deal with the Green Party, who abstained during the vote. Italy’s far-right League and French National Rally are unconvinced about her radicalism approach and rejected the proposed commission. Like a true German, Ursula von der Leyen offered eye-grabbing policy initiatives during her long speech.

 Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen

She made no bones about being strict with Brexit Party Members of European Parliament during her speech. On Brexit, Ursula von der Leyen stated, “We will respect the decision taken by the British people. We will work closely together on solutions to common challenges, especially security matters. But one thing has to be absolutely clear – whatever the future holds, the bond and the friendship between our people are unbreakable.”

Ursula von der Leyen insisted that she wanted the Commission to be geopolitical, so that the EU can be shapers of a better global order. She also criticized Donald Trump’s policies of unilateralism and unwanted confrontation with global partners without taking his name. She stated, “Yes, we have issues, without any doubt. But our ties have lasted the test of time. While we are speaking, thousands of students, researchers, entrepreneurs, artists continue to build zillions of friendships, business contacts and science projects. These myriad of fine threads woven together make a bond that is stronger than any individual point of discord.”

 Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen

In her speech, Ursula von der Leyen did emotionally share about her younger sister’s demise due to Cancer. She also disclosed her family’s helplessness along with the medical staff to safe her 11-year-young sister. She vowed the Commission would lead in the fight against Cancer all across the European Union.

Ursula von der Leyen has appointed experienced individuals as EU Commissioners to head all the important spheres of the European Union. Phil Hogan – Trade, V?ra Jourová – Values and Transparency, Virginijus Sinkevi?ius – Environment and the Oceans, Thierry Breton – Internal Market and Ylva Johansson – Migration, Asylum and Internal Security will head respective fields under Ursula’s leadership.

 Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen etched her name in EU history books as the ‘First Woman President of the European Union’. It is interesting to note that she won her election with just a 9-vote majority. Many Members of the European Parliament were discontent on her appointment as the EU President for their own interest at the helm.

Ursula von der Leyen pledged during her speech to strengthen EU’s short-term goal on greenhouse gas emissions from a 40% reduction by 2030 to relative 1990 levels of nearly 50% cut. Under her leadership, the EU would take lead in forthcoming international climate negotiations. She would also encourage major economies of the world to increase their ambitions by 2021. Big promises are always made by politicians, when one is elected, to impress the citizen of the world. The world will have to wait and watch!

Ursula von der Leyen emphasized that she wants Europe to become the first climate-neutral continent in the world. Indeed a very tall order and an impossible task for one individual to make such a visionary statement. She unleashed her outline, which includes an extended emissions-trading system, a biodiversity strategy for Europe and a tax to avoid carbon leakage when companies transfer the production of goods to countries with more relaxed emission limits.

 Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen’s leadership will see €1 trillion climate investment over the next decade. She has a vision to turn parts of the European Investment Bank into a dedicated Climate Bank to attract and channel private investment to climate and clean energy projects in the European Union. She stated, “The Green Deal is going to be groundbreaking and will create huge economic opportunities by opening up new markets and avoiding climate damage. Europe will set standards in this way.”

The road ahead for the newly-elected EU President is not an easy one. The Climate Crisis is indeed the most crucial issue for the whole world, because it is indeed not only difficult, but also impossible to save our planet Earth from climatic catastrophes. Natural disasters have increased to new high level unseen or unheard earlier. Sinking Capital city Jakarta, under water Venice, wildfires in California and Australia, Amazon forest fires under President Jair Bolsanaro, Borneo forests fires under President Joko Widodo are just few examples of Climate Crisis.


Ursula Von der Leyen was born in Ixelles, Brussels on the 8th of October 1958. Her family lived in Ixelles till 1971. Father Ernst Albrecht was one of the first European Civil servants from the establishment of the European Commission during 1958. He served as the Chef de Cabinet to the European Commissioner for Competition Hans von der Groeben in the Hallstein Commission. From 1967 to 1970, he served as the Director-General of the Directorate-General for Competition.

 Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen

Little Ursula went to the European School in Brussels. In 1971, Ernst Albrecht became CEO of Bahlsen, a food company in Lehrte in the Hanover region. The family moved to Lehrte. He entered the State politics in Lower Saxony to serve as the Prime Minister of Lower Saxony from 1976 till 1990. It is interesting to note that Ursula von der Leyen descends by adoption from Sarah Ladson and biologically from her siblings James H. Ladson and Elizabeth Ladson.

During the late 1970s, Ursula even lived under the name Rose Ladson for nearly a year as an economics student in London. Ladson is the family name of Ursula’s American great-grandmother from Charleston, South Carolina. In the year 1987, Ursula von der Leyen graduated as a Physician from the Hanover Medical School. Her expertise is Women’s Health. A year before her graduation, Ursula married her classmate Heiko von der Leyen. The couple is blessed with seven children.


In the year 1990, Ursula von der Leyen joined the CDU. During the 1990s, Ursula led a life of a housewife bringing up her children. The von der Leyens lived for four long years in Stanford in California. Heiko von der Leyen was working at the Stanford University. In the year 1996, the family returned back to Germany. It was in 1999, when Ursula made her entry in active politics. In 2001, she entered the local politics in the area of Hanover. Two years later, she was elected to the Parliament of Lower Saxony in the 2003 State Election.

From the year 2003 to 2005, Ursula von der Leyen served as a Minister in the State Government of Lower Saxony. In the year 2005, Angela Merkel chose Ursula von der Leyen to cover the family and social security portfolio in her shadow cabinet ahead of the 2005 Federal Elections. From 2005 to 2019, she has remained Angela Merkel’s prodigy to become the first woman President of the European Union.

Full Name :
Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen
Born :
8th-Oct -1958
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