Simson to meet with Ursula von der Leyen

Kadri Simson, Estonia’s candidate for European Commissioner, is meeting President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen for the first time on Tuesday.

Simson told ERR that longer and more substantive discussions regarding portfolios will follow once all member states have named their candidates for commissioner.

She admitted that the situation is complicated by the fact that she is currently the candidate to both the current European Commission under the leadership of Jean-Claude Juncker as well as the next one, which will be led by von der Leyen.

Simson has previously told ERR that the initial meeting will be very important.

“I have been told that this meeting is designed to find out what my strengths are, what I’m interested in, and what I on my part can contribute to the work of the future Commission,” she said.

The candidate noted that she has done her homework ahead of the meeting, as well as talked to people who know von der Leyen.

“Ursula von der Leyen has served as defense minister in the German government, and the defense ministers together with whom I have been in the Estonian government, Jüri Luik and Margus Tsahkna, belonged to the same political family as her,” she said. “They have spoken with her as more than just colleagues. So I have also spoken with people who know von der Leyen a bit better.”

Juncker, the outgoing president of the Commission, approved of both Estonia and Romania’s candidates for commissioner, but did not assign them portfolios.

Ursula von der Leyen will take over as President of the European Commission on Nov. 1. Her term of office will last five years.

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