Has Ursula Von der Leyen already broken her own election rules? Analysis by Millie Cooke

Has Ursula Von der Leyen already broken her own election rules? Analysis by Millie Cooke

WATCH: Von der Leyen outlines EU support for Ukraine

Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 04/03/2024

- 15:17

Updated: 04/03/2024

- 15:21

The EU Commission President has made the rules for campaigning clear

Before the EU Commission President announced her intention to run for a second term, she announced a set of ethics rules on how candidates would need to conduct themselves during a campaign.

The rules forbid candidates from using their Commission staff, travel budget or other material resources from the EU executive for campaign purposes.

They're also required to create separate social media accounts for the campaign and differentiate between statements engaging in their Commission role and those that are part of their campaign.

Such stringent campaign rules makes any blurring of the lines hard to ignore.

\u200bVon der Leyen

Von der Leyen announced her bid to run for a second term last month


Questions were already being asked over whether Von der Leyen had broken the rules even before she announced her decision to run.

Her proposed plan to relax hunting rules for large carnivores - something which has been seen as an attempt to please rural voters - has raised eyebrows. Meanwhile, even her shift to the right on migration to appease centre right voters of the European Peoples' Party is at risk of blurring into campaign territory.

Von der Leyen made the rules clear: there should be no overlap between the campaign and any current jobs held by those running.

It is no wonder, then, that questions are being asked about a document published this morning - 'The Story of the von der Leyen Commission'.

Some commission staff are said to have dedicated "long hours and weekends" to producing the 56-page document, sources told Politico.

The use of commission resources to produce a document that so closely resembles campaign materials is now sparking further questions over whether or not Von der Leyen has already broken her own rules.

The document, described by EU law professor Alberto Alemanno as "propaganda", outlines the achievements under Von der Leyen's premiership.

It opens describing the mission of the Von der Leyen commission, saying it "made a pledge to Europe" to be "bold and ambitious".

The document continues: "This Commission has worked tirelessly to deliver on the job with which the European people entrusted it.

"And we kept our promise. We stayed the course on the six priorities we set out at the beginning of the mandate, while finding solutions to some of the greatest tests that Europe has ever faced.


"From tackling a global pandemic to dealing with climate change’s extreme weather events, from responding to Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine to managing the worst energy crisis in decades, we rolled up our sleeves and tackled extraordinary challenges head-on."

The document has been published on the European Commission website and emblazoned with its logo.

It comes as no surprise, therefore, that questions are being asked over whether or not this overtly pro-Von der Leyen document falls outside of the EU Commission President's own, stringent campaign rules.

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