In Brief: Ursula von der Leyen to step down as Defense Minister, even if she’s not elected as EU Commission president

Members of the European Parliament will vote today at 6 p.m. for EU Commision president. Find out more in your KCRW Berlin News Brief.



CDU politician Ursula von der Leyen announced on Twitter she’s stepping down as the German Federal Minister of Defense, regardless of the outcome of today’s election.

At 6 p.m., members of the European Parliament will vote to elect her as EU Commission president. She must get an absolute majority to win the vote, which will be held through a secret paper ballot.

CSU leader Markus Söder told public broadcaster ZDF the idea that German Social Democrats would block the appointment of a German EU Commission president is “absurd.” He has also said, should von der Leyen lose, it would be an “embarrassment” for Germany and “shameful for the SPD.”

The SPD has been critical of the fact that von der Leyen did not run as the Spitzenkandidat or “top candidate” in the European elections, typically a prerequisite to getting the nomination for president.

If elected, von der Leyen would be the first female head of the EU Commission.


Berlin’s top scientists want to join forces to combat climate change. The partners involved, including Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität, Technische Universität, and Charité Universitätsmedizin plan to open a research center to develop strategies and conduct research across disciplines.

The universities are already in discussion with representatives from “Fridays for Future” and “Scientists for Future” to figure out ways they can work together.


If you’re looking to get rid of your old IKEA furniture, there’s a program run by the company that wants to help you. It’s called “Second Chance” and allows you to return your furniture to the store.

But there are some conditions. The furniture must be complete and in good shape. It also must be returned completely assembled.

You don’t get cash back for the old furniture, but you are eligible for an IKEA gift card. The amount depends on what kind of product you’re returning – and the condition of it.

This news is brought to you in cooperation with Berliner Rundfunk.  

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