Von der Leyen Pledges to Lead EU on Pro-Ukraine Path

The European Commission President pledged to strengthen the bloc against political “extremists”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has promised to “form a bastion against extremes from the left and from the right” in the EU, as her centrist faction retained the top spot in the European Parliament, despite right-wing parties humiliating the ruling coalitions in both France and Germany.

Von der Leyen’s European People’s Party (EPP) has won approximately 26% of seats in the the EU’s legislative body, according to the on Sunday. She acknowledged that centrist parties are holding strong in Europe, but admitted that “extremes on the left and on the right have gained support.” 

“We will stop them,” Von der Leyen told her supporters in Brussels on Sunday night, vowing to “build a bastion against the extremes from the left and from the right.”

Von der Leyen, who is seeking a second term as the European Commission President, declared that her objective is to “build a broad majority for a strong Europe“ and that she intends to “continue on this path with those who are pro-European, pro-Ukraine, pro-rule of law.” 

The surge in support for right-wing parties was fueled by voters’ genuine concerns going unheard, according to Vice-President of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Assita Kanko.

“When the true aspirations of citizens are ignored… it gives, unfortunately, more space to extreme movements. That’s why we need to listen to the citizens,” Kanko stated in Brussels on Sunday. ECR, which is projected to win approximately 71 seats out of 720, has advocated for a focus on security, migration control and European values.

European voters dealt a humiliating defeat to the governing coalitions in two of the bloc’s largest economies, giving increased support to anti-war parties focused on domestic agendas.

In Germany, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s centrist party suffered a severe setback when it came in third place behind its conservative opposition, according to the forecasts. The main opposition group Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) are expected to win with about 30% of the votes, while Alternative for Germany (AfD) is projected to come in second with around 16%, pushing Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) down to 14%.

Meanwhile in France, the right-wing National Rally (RN) party outperformed President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party in the polls to such a degree that he dissolved the country’s National Assembly and called for a fresh snap election.