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Ursula von der Leyen, outgoing Minister of Defense and newly elected president of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen, right, Germany’s outgoing minister of defense and newly elected president of the EU Commission, at the Federal Ministry of Defense inauguration, in Berlin, July 7, 2019 (Photo by Wolfgang Kumm for dpa via AP Images).

How Committed Is von der Leyen to the EU’s Crisis Management Missions?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Following Ursula von der Leyen’s confirmation last week, the European Union not only has its first female president of the European Commission, but also the first who was formerly a minister of defense. What will her leadership mean for the long contentious issue of European security and defense policy?

In an enthusiastic stump speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg before she was confirmed by a vote of 383-327, von der Leyen laid out her “political guidelines” for the European Commission over the next five years. Yet defense only appeared vaguely, under the fifth objective for “a stronger Europe in the world.” For her goal of “defending Europe,” she called for “bold steps in the next five years towards a genuine European Defense Union”—something that has been discussed at length in Brussels and Strasbourg but remains elusive. ...

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