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Ursula von der Leyen’s party colleague resigns after controversial appointment

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The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, appointed party member Markus Pieper to a well-paid EU position. The appointment met with opposition in the EU Parliament, and the party member has now resigned from the position, the day before he was due to start the new job. Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP / NTB

Of NTB | 16.04.2024 00:15:12

Policy: Pieper should have started in the new and well-paid position as envoy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) on Tuesday this week. On Monday evening, von der Leyen’s office announced that he has decided to step down.

– The head of the European Commission both respects and regrets Markus Pieper’s decision, says a statement from a spokesperson for Ursula von der Leyen.

The spokesperson points out that Pieper went through a selection process in several stages and that he was qualified for the position.

The announcement on Monday night came after a majority in the European Parliament on Thursday voted in favor of a demand that von der Leyen have to reverse the appointment of the party leader from the German party CDU. The case has been nicknamed “Piepergate”. Pieper is said to have been ranked number three of the candidates for the job, behind two better qualified women.

The decision comes at an unfortunate time to say the least for von der Leyen, who is now stepping up her campaign to be re-elected for a new five-year term after the EU elections in June.

Von der Leyen has decided that the appointment process for the SME office will now be put on hold until after the EU elections have been completed.

(© NTB)

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