Greens' presidents meet with von der Leyen

Ursula von der Leyen signals she will not reopen Brexit talks

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen was grilled by EU legislators from the socialist, green and free-market liberal groups in the EU parliament, which expects to vote on whether to confirm her as European Commission president next week.

The German defence minister has been on a charm offensive to win over European lawmakers after her name was put forward by EU leaders in a surprise announcement last Tuesday.

Philippe Lamberts, the group's second co-leader, said: "Only a few weeks after the climate elections, she is ignoring the climate emergency and even wants to aim for lower climate targets than previously agreed by the European Parliament".

"The backstop is precious, important, and has to be defended".

She has previously berated European leaders for paying too little attention to the actions of China, saying Beijing is putting on a business-friendly front while "attacking economically" against the EU.

Despite Green scepticism, she said she wholeheartedly supported the European Union going carbon neutral by 2050 and said the bloc should harvest benefits of environmentally-friendly policies.

She said she still hoped the United Kingdom would remain in the European Union, while indicating she had no intention to renegotiate the withdrawal deal agreed by Theresa May and EU leaders.

The lawmakers named their price yesterday for backing Ms Von der Leyen.

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"We are yet to be persuaded by the green credentials of von der Leyen, and by her commitment to a sustainable Europe".

"We insist that the voters deserve a democratic and transparent process when it comes to the choice of Commission president". "We did not hear any concrete proposal, be it on rule of law or on climate", said the group's co-president Ska Keller: "We have been elected on a mandate for change and we don't see how change will be possible with this candidate".

The Greens and the far left have said they will vote against her.

Von der Leyen, who would be the first woman to lead the EU executive, said she wanted an equal share of men and women as European commissioners.

Like Juncker, von der Leyen is from the Christian Democrat European People's Party. "And that's why we often overlook how consistently it pursues its goals and how cleverly".

"It needs to be done that we get a mechanism to provide for transparent making arrangements for observing that the rule of law is upheld in all member states", she said.

The Green bloc was less than impressed with her answers, apparently, with Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout telling reporters after the meeting that she was "evasive on all the answers".

"In case we re going to have a Brexit, I am convinced it is crucial the tone and attitude with which Brexit happens", she said.

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