It appears President-elect Ursula von der Leyen aims at leading an ambitious Commission. Having had to secure a broad alliance in the European Parliament, von der Leyen embraced policy proposals that frequently resemble those of the Juncker Commission. Her ambitions are in some ways remarkable, because the Juncker Commission may have overestimated support for its ambitions in the Council.
This policy brief explores possible lessons from her predecessor’s performance. A paradox that emerges is that the ambitions of Commission President Juncker seemed to be initially supported by the EP and Member States. Yet, the Council blocked a number of the important ambitions when they were translated into proposals. This has consequences for the next Commission. The level of ambition and related commitment from von der Leyen may work well in showing visionary leadership, but it may harm the moderation required for actual progress.