Center-left European parliamentarians have warned incoming European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen they will block her team line-up if she keeps the contentious title for its next top migration official.
The Socialists & Democrats group (S&D) wrote on Thursday that the intended portfolio for "Protecting the European Way of Life" smacked of xenophobia and "wrongly linked" migration and security.
Tapped for the role is Margaritis Schinas of Greece, with parliament due to vote on von der Leyen's full package on October 23.
On Thursday, the former German cabinet minister emerged from talks with Strasbourg parliamentary group leaders — chaired by the parliament's president David Sassoli (pictured above with von der Leyen) — describing the session as "very constructive and positive” despite the warning.
"We have a serious problem with linking the 'Protection of the European Way of Life' with migration, and we won't accept the title as it is," said Socialist & Democrat leader Iratxe Garcia Perez, whose group sent the letter to von der Leyen.
Dacian Ciolos of parliament's liberal Renew party said von der Leyen had promised to "make adjustments" during Thursday's closed-door meeting.
The Greens' co-leader Ska Keller said von der Leyen "did not propose changes, but said she was open to debate."
Last Monday, von der Leyen acknowledged that "for some” the wording was a "loaded, politicized term."
Vetting in October
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) start their vetting of nominees for the influential 27-member commission in early October.
Greece's Schinas is nominated to become one of several commission vice presidents. His mandate would cover education, integration, migration and cross-border security.
Both Schinas and von der Leyen belong to parliament's conservative bloc, the European People's Party, which is the largest bloc in the parliament by a narrow nine-seat margin.
ipj/msh (AFP, dpa)