Figures from across the bloc have been quick to congratulate Mrs von der Leyen on her election victory.

“This job is a huge responsibility and a challenge. I am sure you will make a great president,” outgoing Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker wrote on Twitter.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute to her outgoing defence minister, who she described as a “committed and convincing European”.

“Even if I lose a long-standing minister today, I win a new partner in Brussels,” she said in a statement. “I am therefore looking forward to good co-operation.”

“About time we get a woman in that important position,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a tweet.

“Time to continue work on the crucial issues: jobs, climate change, migration and security in Europe.”

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offered his congratulations and said: “Europe has to move forward. In this we have to work together, addressing the changes that the common project needs.”

Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, tweeted a simple message: Belgium’s leader – and incoming head of the European Council – Charles Michel said: “I wish to congratulate [Mrs von der Leyen]. Let’s work together in the interest of all Europeans.”

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