German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen nominated to replace Jean Claude Juncker

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has been nominated by EU leaders to replace Jean Claude Juncker to head the European Commission.

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen nominated to replace Jean Claude Juncker

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has been nominated by EU leaders to replace Jean Claude Juncker to head the European Commission.

After three days of frustrating stalemate in Brussels, Charles Michel of Belgium has been put forward to lead the European Council, the group of EU leaders; Christine Lagarde of France has been propsed as president of the European Central Bank and veteran Spanish politician Josep Borrell Fontelles has been nominated as the bloc’s foreign policy chief.

Ms Lagarde announced that she would step down from the IMF following her nomination to lead the ECB.

She said: "I am honored to have been nominated for the @ECB Presidency. In light of this, and in consultation with the Ethics Committee of the IMF Executive Board, I have decided to temporarily relinquish my responsibilities as IMF Managing Director during the nomination period."

French president Emmanuel Macron had earlier suggested Ms von der Leyen for the powerful EU executive post and International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Ms Lagarde to run the ECB.

Ms von der Leyen (60) speaks fluent English and French but has had a tough time as defence minister, a post she has held since 2013.

Her tenure has been marked by scandals over the awarding of contracts and right-wing extremism in the Bundeswehr, criticism about gaps in military readiness, and a crash between two German Eurofighter jets last month in which a pilot was killed.

She came late to politics, when she was 42, following a career in medicine.

A mother-of-seven who was born in Brussels and lived in Britain and the US, Ms von der Leyen grew up surrounded by politics. Her father, Ernst Albrecht, was a state premier for the state of Lower Saxony from 1976 to 1990.

She studied at the London School of Economics from 1977 to 1980 but used the pseudonym “Rose Ladson” due to concerns she might be targeted, as the daughter of a prominent politician, by left-wing guerrillas active in West Germany at the time.

A trained gynaecologist, she was once hoisted out of a barrel on German entertainment TV by Hugh Jackman and kissed by George Clooney after handing him an award for promoting peace.

Mr Michel currently heads the Belgian caretaker government.

He leads the country’s Francophone liberals (Mouvement Reformateur). He is the son of former EU commissioner and MEP Louis Michel. He qualified as a lawyer at the Brussels Bar and is fluent in Dutch and English in addition to his native French.

Earlier, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar had sought for the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier for the job of European Commission President.

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