New EU Commission head honors Veil - Auschwitz survivor and European leader

“It is the courage and daring of pioneers such as Simone Veil that are at the heart of my vision for Europe,” Ursula von der Leyen said.

By
July 17, 2019 16:32
1 minute read.
Elected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after a vote on her election at th

Elected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reacts after a vote on her election at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 16, 2019.. (photo credit: REUTERS/VINCENT KESSLER)

In her address to the European Parliament on Tuesday, EU Commission presidential candidate Ursula von der Leyen opened her remarks by honoring the French Jewish politician and Auschwitz survivor Simone Veil.

“Exactly 40 years ago, Simone Veil was elected as the first female president of the European Parliament and set out her vision for a fairer and more united Europe. It is thanks to her, and to all the other European icons, that I am presenting my vision of Europe to you today,” von der Leyen said.

“It is the courage and daring of pioneers such as Simone Veil that are at the heart of my vision for Europe,” she added.

Later in the day, von der Leyen received the green light from Parliament, voting 383 for and 327 against, to become the first woman to serve in the role of European Commission president.

Veil was born in 1927 to a Jewish family in Nice, France. She lost her parents and a brother in the Holocaust.

After the war, she became a lawyer, and later entered politics. Among others positions, she served as France's health minister before becoming president of the European Parliament in 1979. She died in 2017.

Von der Leyen is scheduled to take office on November 1.


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