(Brussels) The day after the elections, it’s time for major maneuvers in Brussels to designate the next “faces” of the EU: the German Ursula von der Leyen seems in a good position for a new mandate at the head of the Commission, but the games are still far from being made.

“We won the European elections, friends! “, exclaimed on Sunday evening Ms. von der Leyen, who is also vice-president of the European People’s Party (EPP, right), which came first in the poll.

But if the former German Defense Minister wants to stay five more years in Brussels, she will have to convince and demonstrate political skill.

First step, the European Council, which brings together the heads of state and government of the 27 and which decides on the “top jobs”, the leaders of the main EU institutions. And within this circle, which will meet twice before the end of the month, the matter seems rather well underway.

Twelve of the 27 members of the European Council are members of the EPP, and, according to an unwritten rule, the winner of the European elections can claim the presidency of the European Commission.

“The EPP emerges strengthened from this election, she is the outgoing president, so I do not see the other options very well, unless it creates political unease,” judges Pascale Joannin, general director of the Schuman Foundation in Brussels.

She has “a good chance of getting the nomination,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Marion Muehlberger. However, she adds, the Council’s negotiations on these positions “are not completely predictable and a surprise candidacy – if it appears unlikely – cannot be completely ruled out.”

With the green light from the Council in hand, Ms. von der Leyen should then undergo examination by the European Parliament, a stage which promises to be more delicate.

The vote by 720 MEPs is expected to take place during the plenary session scheduled for July 16-19, or in September if Parliament chooses to postpone its decision.

According to still provisional results, it can in theory count on more than 400 MEPs, well above the threshold of 361 votes to have a majority. These deputies make up the pro-European “grand coalition”, which extends from the right (EPP) to the social democrats (S 

However, despite this majority, “achieving a majority in Parliament remains the most important challenge for von der Leyen,” judges the Eurasia Group, in a note published Monday.

The vote is in fact done by secret ballot and defections are significant, including within one’s own camp.  

The French Republicans (LR), although members of the EPP, have already announced that they will not vote for the president of the outgoing Commission. And in 2019, his confirmation was only narrowly obtained, by nine votes.

“There is a real risk, of around 30%, that it will not be confirmed due to possible defections” at the time of the vote, estimates the Eurasia Group.

But conversely, deputies from the other side, including members of the group of European Conservatives (ECR, far right), or those not registered, can vote for her, notes Ms. Joannin. This happened in 2019, she recalls.

The Commission President must, however, be careful not to alienate the support of the Social Democrats and Liberals, to whom the EPP “reached out” on Sunday evening.

Ursula von der Leyen could also seek to expand her majority by securing the support of currently non-registered deputies, such as those of the Hungarian opposition, for example, or the European Greens.  

And from this point of view, it is the content of its proposals for the next five years that will make the difference, believes Pascale Joannin.

“She must stay in the campaign, it is up to her to convince, in her camp and beyond, so as not to take the risk of a majority that is too weak.”