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  1. ITV Report

Who is Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission?

von der Leyen has been elected the new European Commission president. Credit: AP

The EU Parliament has confirmed Ursula von der Leyen is the new European Commission President after a winning a vote.

She's the first woman to hold the post, making history for the second time after being the first female defence secretary in Germany.

She won the vote 383-327 vote.

But who is she, what are her views and when will she start the job?

  • Who is Ursula von der Leyen?
Born in Belgium, she rose through Germany's political landscape. Credit: AP

The German minister first became politically active in 1999, nine years after joining the Christian Democrat party.

Two years later, she saw success at the polls, being elected to a local government position in Hannover.

Between 2001 and 2004 she held various offices in the region.

In 2003 she was elected to sit in Lower Saxony's regional parliament, before moving on to become Germany's minister for social affairs, women, family affairs and health.

Von der Leyen continued to rise through the German executive, becoming the longest serving member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet.

After becoming the deputy leader of the Christian Democrat party in 2010, she became Germany's first female defence minister - a position which she continues to hold.

von der Leyen has close ties with Germany's leader. Credit: Ap
  • What about her life outside of politics?

Despite standing for office in Germany, von der Leyen was not born in the country.

In October 1958, she was born to a Belgian family in a suburb of Brussels.

After moving to Germany as a teenager, she studied economics at London School of Economics. Later she focused on practising medicine - with a focus on gynaecology.

In her home country, von der Leyen is something of an anomaly. Where the average birthrate in Germany is 1.59 children per woman, she has seven.

Despite only entering into politics in her later life, it is something of a family business. Her father, Ernst Albrecht, held political offices in Germany and is the former director general of the European Union.

She has been pictured at winter sports events in the past, hinting at a love of the outdoors.

von der Leyen is the longest serving member of Merkel's cabinet. Credit: AP
  • What are her views on Brexit and the future of the European Union?

Ahead of her election, von der Leyen said Brexit is a "a serious decision", adding "we regret it but we respect it".

Writing in a letter, she outlined her intention to carve a "strategic partnership" with the United Kingdom - but said the Withdrawal Agreement on the table is not open for renegotiation.

She is, however, open to the possibility of the United Kingdom staying in the EU beyond October 31. She said: "I stand ready for a further extension of the withdrawal date should more time be required."

With regard to the future of the European Union, she said in a 2011 interview with Der Spiegel, Brussels should aim for "a united states of Europe".

She added it would "run along the lines of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the USA".

She has previously stated she would advocate for a European army.

  • When will she start the job and how much will she be paid?
von der Leyen with the incumbent European Commission president. Credit: AP

Von der Leyen will be passed the baton for the presidency from JJean-Claude Juncker at the end of October 2019.

She'll pick up an annual salary of €306,655 - which works out as £275,000 a year. That means she'll be earning around £22,000 per month, before tax.

The post will run for an initial five years, at which point she'll be able to take on a second term.