Ursula von der Leyen, former German Defense Minister and a prominent member of Germany’s Christian Democrats, talked to N1’s Ivana Dragicevic on Tuesday evening shortly after the European Parliament confirmed Von der Leyen as the new European Commission president.
Asked to comment on the future composition of the European Commission, especially regarding officials from Eastern Europe and possible commissioners from those countries, Von der Leyen said that there should be a “geographic balance” in the future Commission.
“I am not at all decided now how the puzzle would be at the very end. But I am aware of the fact that there has to be a geographical balance. Therefore, I’m looking at central and eastern Europe specifically. I have to talk now with heads of states and governments, but you can rely on me that there will be an emphasis on this topic.”
Speaking about the enlargement of the European Union and the prospects of Western Balkan countries which are mostly in various stages of membership negotiations, Von der Leyen said that she would support close ties between the EU and that region during the term as President of the European Commission.
“The Western Balkans is very important for the European Union. It’s in Europe. And therefore, I will support as much as possible the growing relationship between the Western Balkan countries and the European Union. I think it is in both of our interests to be open, to be constructive… Of course, reforms have to be done but to have the door open, and an open mind for these topics is very important for me.”