Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday congratulated her outgoing defence minister Ursula von der Leyen for being elected the first woman and the first German in more than half a century to run the European Commission.
Merkel praised her long-time ally as a “committed and convincing European” who would “tackle with great vigour the challenges facing us as the European Union”.
She would be “the first female President of the European Commission and the first German in more than 50 years at the head of the European executive”, Merkel said in a statement.
“Even if I lose a long-standing minister today, I win a new partner in Brussels. I am therefore looking forward to good cooperation.”
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas of the Social Democrats, reacting on Twitter, praised the fact von der Leyen had “promoted a united & strong EU, on which we now want to work together with her”.
“Time to look ahead, because the world is not waiting for Europe.”
Top-selling Bild daily’s website cheered her appointment with the simple and enthusiastic headline “Ja! Ja! Ja! Ursula!”