“It is thanks to her [late Holocaust survivor and politician Simone Veil] and to all the other European icons that I am presenting my vision of Europe to you today,” the first female EC president said.
Preceding her election on Tuesday as the new European Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, a German politician, praised Holocaust survivor Simone Veil, who after living through the horrors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, where she lost part of her family, established herself as a central European figure and broke the glass ceiling.
“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,” von der Leyen declared in an address to the European Parliament, where she credited Weil’s achievements for the election of a woman to head the European Commission (EC), the executive branch of the European Union.
“It is thanks to her [Veil] and to all the other European icons that I am presenting my vision of Europe to you today,” she stated.
Veil died in 2017, just before her 90th birthday.
“Forty years later, I can say with great pride that we finally have a female candidate for European Commission President,” she enthused before being voted in as EC president.
“I am that candidate thanks to all the men and women who have broken down barriers and defied convention. I am that candidate thanks to all the men and women who built a Europe of peace, a united Europe, a Europe of values,” said von der Leyen, adding that “it is the courage and daring of pioneers such as Simone Veil that are at the heart of my vision for Europe.”
Later in Tuesday’s proceedings, the German politician won the vote by a 383 to 327 margin in the parliament to now become the first female president of the EC.