Search icon


16th Jul 2019

Ursula von der Leyen officially elected first ever female European Commission president

'It is a big responsibility and my work starts now.'

Anna O'Rourke

Ursula von der Leyen will be the next European Commission president.

She became the first ever woman to secure the role after a secret ballot of MEPs today.

Von der Leyen won 383 votes – just nine more than she needed for a simple majority, reports the Guardian.

She will take up the job in November, replacing Jean-Claude Juncker who has held the role since 2014.

“The trust you placed in me is confidence you placed in Europe,” she told the parliament after today’s win.

“Your confidence in a united and strong Europe, from east to west, from south to north.

“It is a big responsibility and my work starts now.

“Let us work together constructively.”

Von der Leyen is a member of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union party and the only minister to serve continuously in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet since she took power in 2005.

A gynaecologist by profession, she has been a politician since 1999.

She speaks English, French and German and has seven children.

Today, she committed to championing women’s rights and to pushing for the EU to play a bigger role in social welfare.

“I know as a mother of seven that it makes a difference for their entire life if children have access to education, sports, music, healthy food and to a loving environment.”