von der Leyen 's narrow victory


European leaders will be breathing a sigh of relief. It took days of fraught negotiations and a difficult compromise among EU countries to nominate Mrs von der Leyen, a German conservative and close ally of Angela Merkel.

She scraped through with 383 votes, just nine more than the minimum. That may leave her in a weakened position, as it seems she was helped over the line by votes from Eurosceptic and right-wing MEPs in Poland and Italy.

Greens, on the other hand, did not vote for her. They said her commitments on climate change and saving the lives of refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean were too weak. Socialists, too, were angered that their preferred candidate was overlooked by EU leaders.

So what does all this division mean? For a start, the European Commission Mrs von der Leyen will lead from November may have problems passing legislation through the parliament.

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