Even Remainer Adonis unleashes on Ursula von der Leyen – ‘Europe’s Hillary Clinton’

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The claim was made by Lord Adonis, who served in Government under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Ms von der Leyen became European Commission President in December 2019, replacing Jean-Claude Juncker.

However, writing for Prospect, Lord Adonis accused the eurocrat of “extraordinary bungling” and warned she could “damage the standing of the EU as a whole”.

He argued Ms von der Leyen’s political success was down in part to her father Ernst Albrecht, who served as minister-president of Lower Saxony.

Lord Adonis wrote: “Von der Leyen got into politics following in the footsteps of her father, a power broker in Germany’s dominant centre-right Christian Democratic Union party; but, for all her connections, experience and ambition, high-level political talent has never been evident.

“She is Europe’s Hillary Clinton. And, of late, her extraordinary bungling over vaccines and the Irish border has tarnished the European Commission and could come to damage the standing of the EU as a whole.”

Ms von der Leyen served under Angela Merkel in Germany a number of times, first as minister of labour and then as defence minister from 2013-19.

In 2019 EU leaders chose her as the next European Commission President, despite her not being the preferred candidate of any of the main European Parliament blocs.

Ms Clinton ran for President in the US but lost out to Donald Trump.

However, for Ms von der Leyen, Lord Adonis noted: “The crucial difference with Clinton is that she didn’t have to be elected by the people.

“She was simply appointed, then confirmed by a wafer-thin majority in a European Parliament presented with no alternative.”

Lord Adonis claimed Ms von der Leyen had become “a byword for misjudgements” in Brussels following the EU’s stalled coronavirus vaccine rollout.

EU member states agreed to make the European Commission responsible for vaccine procurement, but it failed to order enough vaccines that achieved approval quick enough.

As a result, the EU’s vaccination programme is lagging significantly behind those like the UK, US and Israel.


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In January, during a row with Britain over Covid-19 vaccines, the EU threatened to impose a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic.

This was abandoned following a furious reaction in Dublin, London and Belfast.

Lord Adonis argued: “In the case of Ursula von der Leyen, unusually for a leader, both the mind and the temperament are second rate.”

However, he claimed she is unlikely to be replaced as “her European ideal are first rate”.

Lord Adonis was a passionate anti-Brexit campaigner both before and after the 2016 referendum.

In March he became chairman of the European Movement UK, one of Britain’s main pro-EU campaign groups.

Writing for North East Bylines earlier this year he argued: “Nothing less than rejoining the European Union is either acceptable or practical as our ultimate goal.”

Under the terms of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, checks are now required on the trade of some goods between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

This has infuriated unionists who argue it is a direct affront to British sovereignty.
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