Jul 16, 2019

Ursula von der Leyen narrowly approved for EU's top job

Ursula Von der Leyen. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Ursula von der Leyen, the outgoing German defense minister and an ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, won a closely contested vote in the European Parliament on Tuesday to become the first female president of the European Commission.

Why it matters: Von der Leyen ticks a number of boxes as an experienced, polished, multilingual defender of the European project. However, she’s faced sharp criticism in her current job, and some argue she’s getting a major promotion not on merit, but because she has fewer enemies on the continent than other contenders. She'll now take over for Jean-Claude Juncker at the helm of the Brussels bureaucracy.

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Ursula von der Leyen to take helm of a divided EU

Ursula von der Leyen with Angela Merkel. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Newly confirmed European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a former German defense minister and loyal lieutenant to Chancellor Angela Merkel, will be the first woman ever and the first German since 1967 to lead the European Union’s Executive Branch.

Why it matters: Von der Leyen’s confirmation is a victory for leaders of European member states — particularly France’s Emmanuel Macron — over the European Parliament, and for the Franco-German tandem over smaller states. But stark divisions in the Parliament will make it difficult to pass much of her policy agenda.

Go deeperArrowJul 17, 2019

Siemens CEO: Trump is becoming "the face of racism and exclusion"

Photo: Sebastian Kahnert/picture alliance via Getty Images

Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser issued a rare blow to President Trump from the business community on Saturday, tweeting in German that he "finds it depressing that the most important political office in the world is turning into the face of racism and exclusion."

Why it matters: The president often touts his strong relationship with the business world, and hasn't been afraid to hit back at companies like Nike and Amazon who endorse anti-Trump views or otherwise get under his skin.. Kaeser, who heads one of the largest manufacturing companies in Europe, joins a number of international leaders — including German Chancellor Angela Merkel — in condemning Trump's recent racist outbursts.

Go deeperArrowJul 22, 2019

It's getting "tickier"

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The spread of ticks in the U.S. — and a rise in cases of the diseases they carry — is putting the tiny tick in the sights of Congress and spurring calls for better tools to track and control them.

Why it matters: Ticks spread bacteria that cause Lyme disease and more than a dozen other pathogens. Nearly 43,000 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme disease were reported in the U.S. in 2017 — triple the number in the late 1990s — but the CDC suspects the actual number of cases each year could be about 300,000.

Go deeperArrowJul 18, 2019