Europe has been rocked by large-scale protests over the last few weeks, and many politicians and media organizations in the EU see this as a reflection of public dissatisfaction with the policies of the European Commission and especially its head, Ursula von der Leyen.
The main concern is the rising cost of living, the rapid increase in energy and food prices, and the anti-Russian policies of the European Commission, which have led to an energy and economic crisis that is affecting not only Europe but many other countries who have committed themselves to a close relationship with Europe.
Always keen to show her unwavering support for Washington and London, in her speech at the inaugural summit of the European Political Community, the President of the European Commission extended a warm welcome to Liz Truss – despite the fact that no-one other than Ursula von der Leyen considers the former British premier’s policies to be a success. As the Daily Express notes, the speech was greeted with an uncomfortable silence.
Internet users in the EU have criticized Ursula von der Leyen’s most recent promises to help the Kiev regime “as long as is necessary” and provide Ukraine with billions upon billions of Euros in credit. Her statements have been attacked on social media as ignoring the interests and wishes of EU citizens, and users have called for her resignation.
Writing on Twitter, the French politician Florian Filippo criticized her call for regular subsidies for Ukraine: “Ursula is completely crazy! Lock her up!”
In an interview with Le journal du Dimanche, the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy has accused the European Commission of lacking the authority to make decisions on arms purchases. As he explained, the European Commission is an administrative body, and it is unclear on what basis Ursula von der Leyen considers that she has the authority to speak up on matters relating to foreign policy or arms purchases. Just a few days after the beginning of Russia’s special operation in Ukraine, the President of the European Commission announced that the EU would finance “the purchase and delivery of arms and other military equipment” to Ukraine. Europeans are continually hearing about the need to provide the Kiev regime with billions of euros from EU coffers to buy arms, and they blame Ursula von der Leyen. Nicolas Sarkozy alleges that the EU’s policy in relation to Ukraine was too dependent on “escalation, irritation and thoughtless actions.”
The Israeli television channel i24news and the former Socialist candidate for the French presidency (in the 2007 elections) Ségolène Royal have also recently criticized Ursula von der Leyen’s stance. Ségolène Royal claims that instead of helping Russia to stop the war, the President of the European Commission is lobbying on behalf of the USA’s Ukraine policy and has effectively become a NATO and Pentagon press secretary.
In addition to the criticism’s of her policies, Ursula von der Leyen has also found herself at the center of corruption scandals in recent months. Especially since the beginning of the European public prosecutor’s investigation into EU purchases of COVID-19 vaccines. Public attention in relation to the scandal has centered on the role played by the President of the European Commission, who, as even Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council noted on October 20, “went all out and purchased 4.6 billion(!) COVID-19 vaccine doses from Pfizer pharmaceuticals at a cost of 71 billion (!) euros.” “That is 10 vaccine doses for every EU citizen,” he added.
According to the journal Politico, Ursula von der Leyen has admitted to exchanging text messages with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla while the EU was negotiating the vaccine purchase contract. Two EU supervisory bodies have already accused her of wrongdoing in relation to the purchase, criticizing the Commission for refusing to provide the documents required for the investigation into the matter to proceed further.
However, the Pfizer purchase is not the first scandal that Ursula von der Leyen has found herself involved in. There was another scandal three years ago, when, shortly after a call from the EU elite to “make the process of electing the EU leadership more democratic,” the members of various different political groupings complained that at the beginning of 2019 the heads of the main EU bodies were selected in closed meetings “under cover of night.” The presidency of the European Commission did not go to the leader of the group winning the most votes in the May 2019 elections, but was instead “handed to” Ursula von der Leyen, as Donald Tusk, evidently satisfied that he had done his duty, informed journalists at the end of a two-week EU summit.
This political backroom deal in which the position was clearly reserved for Ursula von der Leyen took place at a time when the EU was supposedly undergoing a “democratic reform.” Since 2014 the so-called leading candidate procedure has been in effect, for the purpose of selecting a new President of the European Commission. Among other requirements, the procedure requires that the candidates from Europe-wide parties who won the largest numbers of votes in European Parliament elections should be given priority when selecting the President of the European Commission.
The reservation of the post for Ursula von der Leyen, the then German Minister of Defense, was highly controversial at the time, even in her native Germany, both among politicians and within the expert community. For example, Markus Söder, at the time head of the Christian Democratic Union, described his views to the DPA press Agency as follows: “Manfred Weber would have been a legitimate President of the European Commission, his election would have been democratic. It is a pity that democracy failed, and the winner was chosen in a behind-the-scenes deal.” The heads of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD)-led coalition, in government at the time, also opposed her nomination to the most senior post in the EU. “The decision to award the presidency of the European Commission to the Minister of Defense undoes all the efforts that have been made to strengthen democracy in Europe, take into account citizens’ interests and support the role of the European Parliament,” the SPD leaders claimed in a statement.
Significantly, at the time Ursula von der Leyen did not even take part in the election campaign, did not stand as a candidate in the European elections, and was probably most known for her anti-Russian position and her unquestioning support for Washington. It was most likely that support that played the key role in bringing about her nomination as President of the European Commission.
So, one may ask, what did Ursula von der Leyen do to achieve the honor of being given the post she now occupies? She is the daughter of Ernst Albrecht, a high-ranking politician in the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), and between 1988 and 1992 she worked as an assistant doctor in the gynecological department of Hanover Medical School. However, in 2016 Hanover Medical School checked her doctoral thesis for plagiarism, and noted its “obvious shortcomings.”
Having raised seven children, she is often informally referred to in her native country as “the mother of Germany.” Her political career began in 1990, when she joined Angela Merkel’s CDU, and in 2005 she was appointed to her first ministerial post, as Minister of Family Affairs and Youth in the Merkel administration. In 2009 she was appointed Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, and in 2013 she became Minister of Defense, a post which she occupied for six years, during which she was involved in regular scandals and responsible for controversial decisions. According to statements by Germany’s three main parties (the Green Party, the Left Party and the Social Democrats), many of the 3,800 contracts concluded during her “management” of the German Armed Forces from 2014 onwards (relating to the restructuring of the Armed Forces and also its IT systems) appear to have been awarded to the “right people,” including relatives and friends, and some contracts may even have involved some form of bribery. Back in 2017 the German newspaper Bild, citing a report by the Federal Audit Office, accused Ursula von der Leyen of being strikingly incompetent during her time as Minister of Defense, when it was revealed that not one German submarine was operational, and less than half of its frigates and tanks and just a third of its military helicopters were in working condition.
With such a “success” record, Ursula von der Leyen was already being seen as a burden on the Armed Forces and the CDU. As, with the elections coming up, there was no suitable free ministerial post she was “nominated” for the presidency of the European Commission – a convenient decision for Germany at the time.
However, as time went by it became clear that the EU could not expect to derive much benefit from her appointment.
For Washington, however, which has no interest in the EU being led by strong politicians following their own line independent of the US, the decision to give Ursula von der Leyen the presidency of the European Commission in 2019 played right into its hands. And as a result she is now promoting the interests, not of European citizens, but of Washington alone, by helping US pharmaceutical companies make huge profits from selling the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine or by providing the US military-industrial complex with millions upon millions of euros in arms orders, paid for by European taxpayers, to support the Kiev regime.
In the present circumstances it will be interesting to see how Ursula von der Leyen’s “career” ends – will she be brought down by the results of investigations into the corruption scandals which she has clearly been involved in, or following demands for her resignation by the European public, who are becoming increasingly critical of her actions…