20:50 GMT02 March 2021
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    Earlier, the European Council had appointed German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen as a candidate for president of the European Commission.

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that the process to appoint Von der Leyen as commission chair had not been very transparent.

    “The [2019] process was not very transparent. But the process which led to my nomination in 2014 was very transparent ... It is efficient to come back to what unfortunately did not become a tradition. I've said in the European Council the other day that I always had impression that I would enter the history ... I am a very unique guy. I was the first and the last spitzenkandidat," Juncker told reporters, when asked about the nomination process.

    If approved by the European Parliament, von der Leyen, a 60-year German politician, will be stepping into a position previously occupied only by men, and not for the first time. Since 2013 von der Leyen has been serving as Germany’s first female defence minister.

    Von der Leyen, if backed by the European Parliament, would also become the first German president of the European Union's main executive body since 1967.

    Besides Leyen, the European Council has chosen other candidates for the top EU jobs as well. Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel is set to succeed Donald Tusk as the council's president. Chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde was nominated to become the new president of the European Central Bank, while Josep Borrell may replace Federica Mogherini as the EU high representative of for foreign affairs.


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