2019 was marked by European elections and several new faces in the major institutions, not only from the European Parliament and Commission, but also with Charles Michel (BE) taking over the position of Council president and Christine Lagard (FR) being chosen to lead the European Central Bank.
The elections have been far from smooth sailing, with the uncertainty over how much longer the UK will remain a member and the rise of both green and populist movements throughout Europe, which changed the composition of the European Parliament.
ELO shared its manifesto calling for EU for policies to support prosperous rural businesses, considering the importance of property rights, to tackle climate change, to modernise the agriculture and forestry sectors and to stimulate proactive action on the environment. With that in mind, ELO was pleased to have gathered enough support to re-establish the Intergroup "Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside".
There were questions over the Spitzenkandidat process, with the heads of state choosing instead to nominate Ursula Von der Leyen (EPP, DE) and making her the first woman to hold the office. Despite the late start of her team, following the rejection of three of the candidates and the rename of some Commissioner portfolios, the new Commission came out strong, with the presentation of the EU Green Deal soon after. ELO welcomed it by sending a letter confirming the importance that land-based activities and of landowners in achieving the goals of the Green Deal.
Janusz Wojciechowski (PL) got the agriculture portfolio, replacing Phil Hogan who moved to trade. Frans Timmermans (NL) remains Vice-President, but this time leading the work on the European Green Deal and overlooking, among others, the agriculture, environment and food safety portfolios. ELO looks forward to having constructive discussions in 2020, when several key proposals will be presented.