1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Von der Leyen to seek second term as EU Commission chief

February 19, 2024

The German politician has led the bloc's executive arm through various crises since 2019. Polls show her center-right European People's party (EPP) is expected to perform well in the upcoming EU election.

President of the European Commission Dr. Ursula VON DER LEYEN speaks Munich Library of the Literaturhaus Bayern Germany.
Von der Leyen announced she attempts to seek a second term as chief of the European Commission, endorsed by her German center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) partyImage: Markus Fischer/IMAGO

German politician and former Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen will seek a second term as chief of the European Commission, her center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party announced on Monday.

CDU leader Friedrich Merz told a Berlin press conference von der Leyen was unanimously nominated.

Her nomination is expected to become official when the CDU's European umbrella, the center-right European People's party (EPP), which is meeting in Bucharest in early March.

What do we know about von der Leyen's bid?

The 65-year-old politician told CDU colleagues on Monday she looked forward to a joint campaign ahead of elections for the European Parliament, scheduled for June.

"I am taking a very conscious and well-considered decision. I would like to run for a second term in office and I am very grateful to the CDU for nominating me as the top candidate for the EPP today," von der Leyen said at a news conference following the party meeting in Berlin.

Von der Leyen has held the post of European Commission chief since 2019, and has steered the bloc through back-to-back crises, including the coronavirus pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

She is the first woman to run the EU's executive body. 

"In these five years, not only has my passion for Europe grown, but of course also my experience of how much this Europe can achieve for its people," the German politician said on Monday in Berlin.

Polls suggest von der Leyen's EPP has a strong lead making it more likely that the German politician would lead the European Commission for another five years.

Rise of far-right in EU

Von der Leyen's bid for a second term comes as the far-right is growing in popularity among European voters ahead of the European Parliament elections. To become EU Commission chief for the second time, von der Leyen will need a majority vote in the newly elected European Parliament. 

DW Brussels correspondent Bernd Riegert said that although a more right-leaning parliament "could make it more difficult to organize a majority," the far-right is still "far from a majority, so it's most likely that Ursula von der Leyen will prevail."

"Her chances are quite good because she's regarded as a good president by most of the heads of states in government, except Hungary," Riegert said.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban frequently bristles with Brussels on many policy issues, especially when it comes to aiding Ukraine in defending Russia's invasion. 

EU Commission president seeks second term

rmt/wmr (AP, dpa, Reuters)

While you're here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what is happening in German politics and society. You can sign up here for the weekly email newsletter Berlin Briefing.