Monitoring Report November 2019 - EU
Europe and Israel under a new European Commission
A new beginning, more of the same or downward spiral
Europe has elected and sworn in a new Commission, which took office on December 1st 2019 in challenging times. We have compiled portraits of two leading personalities, who will likely have a great say in the future shaping of EU-Israel relations: Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission and her Vice-President Josep Borrell, the new High Representative of the European Union. Furthermore, we include our statement on the recent European Court of Justice’s verdict, which stipulates obligatory labelling for Israeli produce originating from beyond the green line.
Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s former minister for family affairs and later minister of defense, finally made it to the top of Europe. On December 1st, on the 13th floor of the Berlaymont, she took over the helm of the European Commission from Jean-Claude Juncker. Von der Leyen, the Brussels-born aristocrat, trained medical doctor, mother of seven, and crown-princess of Angela Merkel’s grace, succeeded in finally reaching the European Parliament’s approval of her commission with the help of Polish and Hungarian Eurosceptic votes. The spotless image of the ever-smiling, multilingual showcase European with her We can do it!-attitude and a sixth sense for publicity and self-promotion was recently clouded by a still ongoing Parliamentary Commission Inquiry concerning a consulting issue during her stint at the German Ministry of Defense. The sometimes-unconventional Christian Democrat, known for her rather liberal views on marriage, has a proven and solid track-record on topics pertaining to Jewish or Israel-related issues.