Watch live: Will MEPs back Ursula von der Leyen as next European Commission president?

EU top job nominee Ursula von der Leyen said she was open to extending the Brexit deadline for a good reason during her address to the European Parliament. She is trying to convince MEPs to back her to become the next president of the European Commission and succeed Jean-Claude Juncker. Her mention of the EU-UK divorce prompted pro-Brexit MEPs to bang on the tables and cheer; she said the EU “regretted it but respected it [Brexit]”. MEPs will decide on Tuesday evening whether to approve von der Leyen’s appointment after she was nominated by leaders of EU countries. You can watch von der Leyen’s speech and the subsequent debate in the video player, above. Von der Leyen will need 374 votes to be elected president of the European Commission. The candidate for the European Commission’s top job promised a “green deal” for the EU in her first 100 days in office and said she wanted Europe to be first the carbon-neutral continent by 2050. A more growth-oriented fiscal policy and taxing big tech companies feature among Von der Leyen’s pledges. She has also promised to create an additional comprehensive European rule-of-law mechanism that includes annual reporting, grow the EU’s border guards earlier than scheduled to deal with the migrant issue, and set a minimum wage for EU workers. If MEPs reject her it would signify a big blow for the bloc who has already suffered a significant euro debt crisis in the last decade, Britain’s decision to leave and the rise of far-right parties. She was nominated for the job by EU leaders even though she was not among the “spitzenkandidaten” — the German word for the lead candidate. In an EU context, it refers to a European political grouping’s preferred candidate to be European Commission president. Ska Keller, the leading candidate for the European Greens, tweeted that von der Leyen’s speech was “nice” but wasn’t concrete enough on environmental issues. Co-leader of the group Philippe Lambert said the Greens weren’t persuaded by von der Leyen’s promises. The main message in his speech was that his party would not be supporting her nomination. “There was no word” on issues like biodiversity or “the favourable treatment given to investors,” says Lamberts. “Where a change of orientation is needed, you propose here and there some bowing, incremental changes and a lot of vagueness.” Wearing a hoody with names of big companies such as McKinsey, Accenture and PwC, Nico Semsrott, a Green MEP, stood up and requested for “the disclosure of financial interests” and “conflict of interest” to a silent room. The Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left tweeted its disapproval of von der Leyen with a cartoon that pictures the nominee being pushed towards a door with the EU logo by cartoons of military man, a bank, and big enterprises. Martin Schirdewan, a leader of the coalition, rejected all of von der Leyen’s proposals in his speech, particularly her support for an EU army. “Unfortunately we won’t be able to support you this evening,” he said. Leader of the Brexit Party Nigel Farage accused the nominee of pursuing a communist agenda as well as being a fanatic of building a European army. “I think we can do without you, Mr Farage,” responded von der Leyen to the Brexit Party leader’s attack. MEP Jörg Meuthen from the far-right Identity and Democracy group said his party would not be supporting von der Leyen, to which she answered: “I am relieved that I will not get a single vote from you.” Von der Leyen has received public support from European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager who tweeted her speech was “strong, warm, and balanced”. Manfred Weber, who was the EPP nominee for Commission president, pledged his group’s full support for von der Leyen. Weber added that what had happened had already “caused damage” and urged MEPs to not cause “further damage”.

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