European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has declared her victory in the European Elections to a jubilant European People's Party (EPP) celebration in Brussels. (Peter Caddle/Brussels Signal)

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Von der Leyen declares ‘victory’ at jubilant EPP bash


European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has declared her “victory” in the European Elections at a jubilant European People’s Party (EPP) celebration in Brussels.

Speaking amid cheers and chants of her name, von der Leyen praised party colleagues and insisted that the EPP had proven itself to EU voters.

“Today is a good day for EPP,” she declared, arms aloft. “We won the European Elections.”

“We are the strongest party. We are the anchor of stability.”

EPP President Manfred Weber insisted that the rest of Europe’s political groups respect the informal spitzenkandidat (lead candidate) system, where the most popular European faction gets to decide the next European Commission head.

“I am now asking all the other parties to practice a democratic Europe,” he said.

“That means that the winner of the elections have now the right to present the Commission president.

“And that will be — for the next five years again, Ursula von der Leyen,” he concluded to cries of “five more years”.

While polling indicated that von der Leyen’s so-called “Grand Coalition” of EPP, the Socialists and Democrats (S&D), and Renew will hold on to their majority, it remained unclear whether she would be able to drum up the support needed to retain her position.

The German politician had struggled in 2019 to be appointed after rebels with S&D and Renew rebelled against her candidacy.

Now, with both groups set to lose seats in the coming term and some of her colleagues within EPP unhappy with her track record, von der Leyen appears particularly vulnerable.