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It’s been a turbulent year for Ursula von der Leyen’s Class of 2019.
Since 26 fresh-faced commissioners and one president took office on December 1 last year, even the Commission’s youngest members have been aged by the coronavirus pandemic. It also cost one commissioner his job.
In the year that brought a health crisis, an economic crisis and rewrote social and working norms, who’s had the best year in the Berlaymont and who’s struggled to make their mark? Here’s POLITICO’s report card on the von der Leyen Commission.
Ursula von der Leyen
Performance review: Von der Leyen and her Commission had barely crossed the threshold of 100 days in office when they were hit with the once-in-100-years public health catastrophe and an economic shock unprecedented in modern times. The president and her team struggled in the initial weeks of the pandemic as national capitals panicked and refused to cooperate, but the Commission found its footing and designed a historic €1.82 trillion budget and recovery package that was adopted unanimously by the European Council. That includes provisions for €750 billion in joint debt — a remarkable breakthrough in fiscal policy. Amid the crisis, von der Leyen has tried to keep a focus on top priorities like the European Green Deal and digitalization while also pushing, with some success, to improve gender parity in the College and senior civil service. Grade A-.
Best moments: Without question, von der Leyen’s signature moment came before dawn on July 21 when EU national leaders reached unanimous agreement on the budget-and-recovery package. While there have been setbacks, including an ongoing standoff with Hungary and Poland over rule of law,