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EU chief nominee pledges ‘green deal’ for MEP votes

Published: July 16, 2019 22:40:37


The woman nominated to head the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has pledged to launch a "green deal for Europe", in a bid for MEPs' support, reports BBC.

Mrs von der Leyen set out her agenda in the European Parliament ahead of a key vote on her candidacy.

The outgoing German defence minister needs a majority to take charge.

On Brexit, she said "I stand ready for a further extension of the [UK] withdrawal date, should more time be required for a good reason".

MEPs reacted with a mixture of applause and boos.

"In any case the UK will remain our ally, our partner and our friend," she said, defending the existing withdrawal deal, reached with Prime Minister Theresa May but rejected by the UK Parliament, which the EU has vowed not to reopen.

The UK is currently scheduled to leave the EU on 31 October.

If she wins the vote in Strasbourg on Tuesday evening, she will replace EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November. She is a centre-right politician close to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mrs von der Leyen has been criticised in Germany over the armed forces' persistent equipment shortages and what some consider to be her aloof management style.

On climate change, she said "I will propose a sustainable Europe investment bank", to unlock substantially more investment in renewable energy and other measures over the next decade.

The new "green deal" - promised within Mrs von der Leyen's first 100 days - would aim to make the EU carbon neutral by 2050, whereby carbon pollution is balanced by green measures such as planting trees. The UK has already set a 2050 deadline for becoming carbon neutral.

"It means change - all of us will have to contribute… in the way each of us travels and lives. Emissions must have a price that changes our behaviour," she said.

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