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March 11, 2024 (EIRNS)—The nomination of Ursula von der Leyen as leading candidate of the European People’s Party last week might be her Swan Song. The echo of the vote had not yet died down, when her candidacy came under friendly fire internationally. French EU Commissioner Thierry Breton as well as German Finance Minister Christian Lindner both criticized the choice. And from Italy, the more conservative wing of Forza Italia, a member of the von der Leyen’s EPP Group in the European Parliament, also voiced its opposition.

Breton is considered to be very close to Macron. “Despite her qualities, Ursula von der Leyen has been put in minority by her own party,” Breton said. “The real question now is whether it is possible to entrust again the management of Europe to the EPP for five more years, that makes 25 consecutive years. The EPP itself seems not to believe in her candidacy.” Breton refers to the fact that the EPP vote on von der Leyen was not unanimous.

On March 6, Lindner attacked her saying: “It is Ursula von der Leyen’s legacy, that we have regulation instead of innovation,” Lindner told Handelsblatt. “We need a change of route. Von der Leyen’s policy jeopardizes our competitiveness and our economic prosperity.”

In Italy, Senate Vice President Licia Ronzulli, from the Forza Italia Party, said: “They voted for the candidate to the presidency of the European Commission. The EPP chose to confirm the name of Ursula von der Leyen. Maybe they could dare more and make a more courageous step.”

Behind the enemy fire against von der Leyen, someone sees a plan to replace her with Mario Draghi. Draghi would be endorsed by the French, because of his agenda to create more European debt. The Italians would endorse him for the same reason and because he is Italian. The Germans would have to swallow the bitter pill.

However, should von der Leyen step back, Draghi would still need to neutralize EPP leader Manfred Weber, the natural candidate after Ursula von der Leyen. And Draghi would need a majority in the next European Parliament in order to be elected, not an obvious proposition.