By Tenzin Sangmo
Ursula von der Leyen speaking at the European Parliament before her election as the EC Prez © European Union 2019 - EP
DHARAMSHALA, July 19: His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Friday sent a congratulatory note to Ursula Von der Leyen on her election as the new President of the European Commission.
On July 16th, the German defence minister was elected the new president of the European Commission by the European Parliament,
By winning 383 of the 733 votes cast, she secured the margin for majority by just nine votes and will take over as the first-ever woman president of the EU’s executive when Jean-Claude Juncker steps down in the end of October.
His Holiness conveyed his great admiration for the spirit of the European Union that has “preserved peace among its members and in the region for more than 60 years.”
As envisioned by its founders, he wrote, the European Union, in the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation that followed World War II has put the common good ahead of the local interest of individual countries.
Calling it a demonstration of wisdom and maturity in a world that has increasingly become interdependent, the Nobel laureate shared his dream of seeing similar unions in Africa, Latin America and Asia that fortify global peace.
“I also congratulate you on being the first woman to serve as European commission president. It is my firm conviction that if more of our leaders were women, the world would be a more understanding, peaceful place.”
His Holiness wished Leyen every success in meeting the challenges that lie ahead in making the European Union strong and a model for others to follow.
In her speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg as a candidate for EC President outlining her vision, she announced that she will focus on an ambitious climate agenda to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.
She also made known her intention to form a team of commissioners made up of an equal number of men and women based on candidates nominated by national governments to fulfil her commitment to a gender balance, among other policy commitments.
Born in Brussels in 1958, Ursula von der Leyen is a doctor and was a member of the German government from 2005 to 2019.