During their formal meeting this week, the first after the June European elections, European Union leaders agreed to nominate the EPP member Ursula von der Leyen from Germany for a second five-year term as president of the European Commission.

All the talk from some about a potential big move to the far-right in EU members and parliament seems to have disappeared. In the end, it seems there wasn’t anyone else in play. Of course the European Parliament must vote to ratify the nominations in mid-July, and should she fail at this stage, then a plan B will be required.


The significance and context of Von der Leyen’s nomination is of course centred on the moves she started late last year around a “strategic dialogue on agriculture”.

This dialogue seeks to close the rift that has emerged between the views of farmers and other interest groups which have a say in farm policies. Von der Leyen also has been more outspoken on the food security debate of late.

It now looks like the Renew group, of which Fianna Fáil is a member, is backing Von der Leyen, especially in the context of Michael McGrath’s nomination as Ireland’s next commissioner.

Of more concern right now to the EU is what might be happening in the US and closer to home in France.

Faced with the prospect of the far-right taking power for the first time since France’s occupation by Germany during the Second World War, Macron has his work cut out now to stop Marine Le Pen’s anti immigration and Eurosceptic National Rally party.

Analysts suggest the most likely outcome of the French elections is a hung parliament that could lead to months of political paralysis in France.