Ursula von der Leyen
Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen (German: [ˈʊʁzula fɔn dəɐ̯ ˈlaɪən] (listen); née Albrecht; born 8 October 1958) is a German politician and physician who has been President of the European Commission since 1 December 2019.
Prior to her current position, she served in the Cabinet of Germany from 2005 to 2019, holding successive positions in Angela Merkel's cabinet, serving most recently as Minister of Defence. Von der Leyen is a member of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its EU counterpart, the European People's Party (EPP).
She was born and raised in Brussels to German parents. Her father, Ernst Albrecht, was one of the first European civil servants. She was brought up bilingually in German and French. She moved to Hanover in 1971, when her father entered politics to become Minister President of the state of Lower Saxony in 1976. As an economics student at the London School of Economics in the late 1970s, she lived under the name Rose Ladson, the family name of her American great-grandmother from Charleston, South Carolina. After graduating as a physician from the Hannover Medical School in 1987, she specialized in women's health. In 1986 she married fellow physician Heiko von der Leyen of the noble von der Leyen family of silk merchants. As a mother of seven children, she was a housewife during parts of the 1990s and lived for four years in Stanford, California, while her husband was on faculty at Stanford University, returning to Germany in 1996.
In the late 1990s, she became involved in local politics in the Hanover region, and she served as a cabinet minister in the state government of Lower Saxony from 2003 to 2005. In 2005, she joined the federal cabinet, first as Minister of Family Affairs and Youth from 2005 to 2009, then as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs from 2009 to 2013, and finally as Minister of Defence from 2013 to 2019, the first woman to serve as German defence minister. When she left office she was the only minister to have served continuously in Angela Merkel's cabinet since Merkel became chancellor. She served as a deputy leader of the CDU from 2010 to 2019, and has previously been regarded as a leading contender to succeed Merkel as chancellor and as the favourite to become secretary-general of NATO.
On 2 July 2019, von der Leyen was proposed by the European Council as the candidate for President of the European Commission. She was then elected by the European Parliament on 16 July; she took office on 1 December, becoming the first woman in such role.
Von der Leyen is included in Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
Family and early life
Von der Leyen was born in 1958 in Ixelles, Brussels, Belgium, where she lived until she was 13 years old. In the family, she has been known since childhood as Röschen, a diminutive of Rose. Her father Ernst Albrecht worked as one of the first European civil servants from the establishment of the European Commission in 1958, first as chef de cabinet to the European commissioner for competition Hans von der Groeben in the Hallstein Commission, and then as director-general of the Directorate-General for Competition from 1967 to 1970. She attended the European School, Brussels I.
In 1971, she relocated to Lehrte in the Hanover region after her father had become CEO of the food company Bahlsen and involved in state politics in Lower Saxony. Her father served as Minister President of Lower Saxony (state prime minister) from 1976 to 1990, being re-elected in state parliament elections in 1978, 1982 and 1986. In 1980 he ran for the CDU nomination for the German chancellorship, backed by CDU chairman Helmut Kohl, but narrowly missed the candidacy to fellow conservative Franz Josef Strauß (who then lost the general election to the sitting chancellor Helmut Schmidt); in the 1990 state elections Ernst Albrecht lost his office to Gerhard Schröder, who later became German chancellor.
Most of her ancestors were from the former states of Hanover and Bremen in today's northwestern Germany; she has one American great-grandmother of primarily British descent, with more distant French and Italian ancestors, and some ancestors from what are now the Baltic states, then in Imperial Russia. The Albrecht family was among the hübsche ("courtly" or "genteel") families of the Electorate and Kingdom of Hanover—a state that was in a personal union with the United Kingdom—and her ancestors had been doctors, jurists and civil servants since the 17th century. Her great-great-grandfather George Alexander Albrecht moved to Bremen in the 19th century, where he became a wealthy cotton merchant, part of the Hanseatic elite and the Austro-Hungarian Consul from 1895. He married Louise Dorothea Betty von Knoop (1844–1889), a daughter of Baron Johann Ludwig von Knoop, one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the 19th century Russian Empire.
Von der Leyen's father's grandparents were the cotton merchant Carl Albrecht (1875–1952) and Mary Ladson Robertson (1883–1960), an American who belonged to a planter family from Charleston, South Carolina. Her American ancestors played a significant role in the British colonization of the Americas, and she descends from many of the first English settlers of Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Barbados, and from numerous colonial-era governors. Among her ancestors were Carolina governors John Yeamans, James Moore, Robert Gibbes, Thomas Smith and Joseph Blake, Pennsylvania deputy governor Samuel Carpenter, and the American revolutionary and lieutenant governor of South Carolina James Ladson. The Ladson family were large plantation owners and her ancestor James H. Ladson owned over 200 slaves by the time slavery in the United States was abolished; her relatives and ancestors were among the wealthiest in British North America in the 18th century, and she descends from one of the largest British slave traders of the era, Joseph Wragg. Carl and Mary were the parents of Ursula von der Leyen's grandfather, the psychologist Carl Albrecht, who was known for developing a new method of meditation and for his research on mystical consciousness. She is the niece of the conductor George Alexander Albrecht and a first cousin of the chief conductor of the Dutch National Opera Marc Albrecht.
In 1986, she married physician Heiko von der Leyen, a member of the von der Leyen family that made a fortune as silk merchants and was ennobled in 1786; her husband became a professor of medicine and the CEO of a medical engineering company. She met him at a university choir in Göttingen. They have seven children, born between 1987 and 1999. The Von der Leyen family are Lutheran members of the Evangelical Church of Germany.
Ursula von der Leyen is a native speaker of German and French; she speaks English fluently, having lived for a combined five years in the United Kingdom and the United States. She lives with her family on a farm near Hanover where they keep horses. She is a keen equestrian and has been involved in competitive horseriding.
Education and professional career
In 1977, she started studying economics at the University of Göttingen. At the height of the fear of communist terrorism in West Germany, she fled to London in 1978 after her family was told that the Red Army Faction (RAF) was planning to kidnap her due to her being the daughter of a prominent politician. She spent more than a year in hiding in London, where she lived with protection from Scotland Yard under the name Rose Ladson to avoid detection and enrolled at the London School of Economics. A German diminutive of Rose, Röschen, had been her nickname since childhood, while Ladson was the name of her American great-grandmother's family, originally from Northamptonshire. She said that she "lived more than she studied," and that London was "the epitome of modernity: freedom, the joy of life, trying everything" which "gave me an inner freedom that I have kept until today." She returned to Germany in 1979 but lived with a security detail at her side for several years.
In 1980, she switched to studying medicine and enrolled at the Hannover Medical School, where she graduated in 1987 and acquired her medical license. From 1988 to 1992, she worked as an assistant physician at the Women's Clinic of the Hannover Medical School. Upon completing her doctoral studies, she graduated as a Doctor of Medicine in 1991. Following the birth of twins, she was a housewife in Stanford, California, from 1992 to 1996, while her husband was a faculty member of Stanford University.
From 1998 to 2002, she taught at the Department of Epidemiology, Social Medicine and Health System Research at the Hannover Medical School. In 2001 she earned a Master of Public Health degree at the institution.
In 2015, researchers collaborating at the VroniPlag Wiki reviewed von der Leyen's 1991 doctoral thesis and alleged that 43.5% of the thesis pages contained plagiarism, and in 23 cases citations were used that did not verify claims for which they were given. Multiple notable German academics such as Gerhard Dannemann and Volker Rieble publicly accused von der Leyen of intended plagiarism. The Hannover Medical School conducted an investigation and concluded in March 2016 that while the thesis contains plagiarism, no intention to deceive could be proven.
The university decided not to revoke von der Leyen's medical degree. Critics questioned the independence of the commission that reviewed the thesis as von der Leyen personally knew its director from joint work for an alumni association. Various media outlets also criticized that the decision was nontransparent, not according to established rules and failing to secure high academic standards.
Ursula von der Leyen joined the CDU in 1990, and became active in local politics in Lower Saxony in 1996, shortly after she had returned to Germany after living in California. She was a member of the committee on social policy of CDU in Lower Saxony from 1996, and also became active in the association of medical doctors in the CDU party.
State minister, 2003–2005
Ursula von der Leyen was elected to the Parliament of Lower Saxony in the 2003 state election. From 2003 to 2005 she was a minister in the state government of Lower Saxony, serving in the cabinet of Christian Wulff, with responsibility for social affairs, women, family, and health.
In 2003, von der Leyen was part of a group assigned by then-opposition leader and CDU chairwoman Angela Merkel to draft alternative proposals for social welfare reform in response to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's "Agenda 2010". The so-called Herzog Commission, named after its chairman, the former German President Roman Herzog, recommended a comprehensive package of reform proposals including, among other things, decoupling health and nursing care premiums from people's earnings and levying a monthly lump sum across the board instead.
Ahead of the 2005 federal elections, Angela Merkel chose Ursula von der Leyen to cover the family and social security portfolio in her shadow cabinet. In the negotiations to form a government following the 2005 federal elections, Von der Leyen led the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on families; her co-chair from the SPD was Renate Schmidt.
Federal Minister, 2005–2019
Minister of Family Affairs and Youth, 2005–2009
In 2005, Ursula von der Leyen was appointed Federal Minister of Family Affairs and Youth in the cabinet of Angela Merkel. On the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel, von der Leyen participated in the first joint cabinet meeting of the governments of Germany and Israel in Jerusalem in March 2008.
Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, 2009–2013
At the federal election of 2009, von der Leyen was elected to the Bundestag, Germany's Parliament, representing the 42nd electoral district of Hanover, alongside Edelgard Bulmahn of the Social Democrats. In the negotiations to form a coalition government following the elections, she led the CDU/CSU delegation in the working group on health policy; her co-chair from the FDP was Philipp Rösler. She was reappointed as family minister, but on 30 November 2009 succeeded Franz Josef Jung as Federal Minister of Labour and Social Affairs.
During her time in office, von der Leyen cultivated the image of being the social conscience of the CDU and helped Merkel to move the CDU into the political centre-ground. In speaking out for increasing the number of childcare nurseries, for the introduction of a women's quota for listed companies' main boards, for gay marriage and a nationwide minimum wage, von der Leyen made enemies among the more traditionalist party members and won admirers on the left.
Von der Leyen also lobbied for lowering the barriers to immigration for some foreign workers, in order to fight shortages of skilled workers in Germany. In 2013, she concluded an agreement with the Government of the Philippines that was aimed at helping Filipino health care professionals to gain employment in Germany. A vital provision of the agreement is that the Filipino workers are to be employed on the same terms and conditions as their German counterparts.
Von der Leyen was initially considered the front-runner to be nominated by the ruling CDU/CSU parties for election as President of Germany in the 2010 presidential election, but Christian Wulff was eventually chosen as the parties' candidate. The news media later reported that Wulff's nomination came as a blow to Merkel, whose choice of Leyen had been blocked by the two parties' more conservative state premiers.
In November 2010, von der Leyen was elected (with 85% of the votes) as one of four deputies of CDU chairwoman Angela Merkel, serving alongside Volker Bouffier, Norbert Röttgen and Annette Schavan. Later that month, she told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the CDU should consider establishing a formal voting process for choosing future candidates for Chancellor. In 2012, she was re-elected (with 69% of the votes) as one of Merkel's deputies as CDU chairwoman, this time serving alongside Bouffier, Julia Klöckner, Armin Laschet and Thomas Strobl.
In the negotiations to form a government following the 2013 federal elections, von der Leyen led the CDU/CSU delegation in the labour policy working group, with Andrea Nahles of the SPD as her co-chair.
Minister of Defence, 2013–2019
In 2013, Ursula von der Leyen was appointed as Germany's first female defence minister. By placing a significant party figure such as von der Leyen at the head of the Defence Ministry, Merkel was widely seen as reinvigorating the scandal-ridden ministry's morale and prestige. She is the only minister to remain with Merkel since she became chancellor in 2005.
Former British Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon noted in 2019 that she had been "a star presence" in the NATO community and "the doyenne of NATO ministers for over five years". She has faced domestic criticism for her leadership style, reliance on outside consultants, and continued gaps in military readiness.
Within her first year in office, von der Leyen visited the Bundeswehr troops stationed in Afghanistan three times and oversaw the gradual withdrawal of German soldiers from the country as NATO was winding down its 13-year combat mission ISAF. In summer 2014, she was instrumental in Germany's decision to resupply the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters with lethal assistance. In September 2015, she signalled that she was open to delaying the withdrawal of 850 German soldiers from Afghanistan beyond 2016 after the Taliban's surprise seizure of the northern city of Kunduz. German forces used to be based in Kunduz as part of NATO-led ISAF and remain stationed in the north of the country. She later opposed the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Following criticism from German officials of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's escalation of the Kurdish–Turkish conflict in August 2015, von der Leyen decided to let Germany's three-year Patriot missile batteries mission to southern Turkey lapse in January 2016 instead of seeking parliamentary approval to extend it. That same month, she participated in the first joint cabinet meeting of the governments of Germany and Turkey in Berlin. By April 2016, under von der Leyen's leadership, the German Federal Armed Forces announced they would commit 65 million Euro to establish a permanent presence at Incirlik Air Base, as part of Germany's commitment to the military intervention against ISIL.
At the Munich Security Conference in 2015, von der Leyen publicly defended the German refusal to supply Ukraine with weapons. Stressing that it was necessary to remain united in Europe over Ukraine, she argued that negotiations with Russia, unlike with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant jihadists, were possible. Germany sees Ukraine and Russia as a chance to prove that in the 21st century, developed nations should solve disputes at the negotiating table, not with weapons, she said. She also noted that Russia has an almost infinite supply of weapons it could send into Ukraine. She questioned whether any effort by the West could match that or, more importantly, achieve the outcome sought by Ukraine and its supporters.
On the contrary, von der Leyen said that giving the Ukrainians arms to help them defend themselves could have unintended and fateful consequences. "Weapons deliveries would be a fire accelerant," von der Leyen was quoted as telling the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily. "And it could give the Kremlin the excuse to openly intervene in this conflict."
After Hungary used a water cannon and tear gas to drive asylum seekers back from the Hungarian-Serbian border in September 2015, during the European migrant crisis, von der Leyen publicly criticized the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and called the measures "not acceptable and [...] against the European rules that we have."
Under von der Leyen's leadership, the German parliament approved government plans in early 2016 to send up to 650 soldiers to Mali, boosting its presence in the U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSMA in the West African country.
Armed forces reform
In 2014, von der Leyen introduced a €100 million plan to make the Bundeswehr more attractive to recruits, including by offering crèches for soldiers' children, limiting postings to match school term dates, and considerable rises in hardship allowances for difficult postings. After Bundeswehr officials failed to properly investigate persistent reports of brutal hazing rituals, sexual humiliation, and bullying in military training, von der Leyen fired the army's training commander, Major General Walter Spindler, in 2017.
In 2015, as a result of severe NATO–Russian tensions in Europe, Germany announced a significant increase in defence spending. In May 2015, the German government approved an increase in defence spending, at the time 1.3% of GDP, by 6.2% over the following five years, allowing the Ministry of Defense to modernize the army fully. Plans were also announced to significantly expand the tank fleet to a potential number of 328, order 131 more Boxer armoured personnel carriers, increase the submarine fleet, and to develop a new fighter jet to replace the Tornado. Germany considered increasing the size of the army, and in May 2016 von der Leyen announced it would spend €130 billion on new equipment by 2030 and add nearly 7,000 soldiers by 2023 in the first German military expansion since the end of the Cold War. In February 2017, the German government announced another expansion, which would increase the number of its professional soldiers by 20,000 by 2024.
Early in her tenure, von der Leyen pledged to get a grip on Germany's military equipment budget after publishing a KPMG report on repeated failures in controlling suppliers, costs and delivery deadlines, e.g., with the Airbus A400M Atlas transport plane, Eurofighter Typhoon jet and the Boxer armoured fighting vehicle.
In 2015, von der Leyen publicly criticized Airbus over delays in the delivery of A400M military transport planes, complaining that the company had a serious problem with product quality. Under her leadership, the ministry agreed to accept 13 million euros in compensation for delays in deliveries of both the second and third A400M aircraft. In 2016, she asked for an additional 12.7 million euros in damages for delays in the delivery of a fourth plane. Also in 2015, von der Leyen chose MBDA, jointly owned by Airbus, Britain's BAE Systems, and Italy's Leonardo S.p.A., to build the Medium Extended Air Defense System, but set strict milestones for it to retain the contract.
During a 2015 visit to India, von der Leyen expressed support for a project initiated by the Indian government to build six small German TKMS diesel-electric submarines for a total cost of $11 billion. She also promoted the German government's decisions on arms exports to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
Since 2018 an investigative committee organized by Germany's Federal Audit Office is looking into how contracts worth tens of millions of euros were awarded to external consultancy firms. The auditing office has found several irregularities in how the contracts were awarded. During the investigation, two of von der Leyen's phones were confiscated, but data from both phones has been deleted before being returned to the defense ministry. In turn, opposition lawmaker Tobias Linder has filed a criminal complaint against von der Leyen suspecting deliberate destruction of evidence relevant for the case.
CDU party career
Von der Leyen was elected as a member of the CDU executive board in December 2014 and received 70.5% of the votes. As in her reelections in 2016 (72.4%) and 2018 (57.47%), this was the weakest of all results.
As a cabinet member, von der Leyen was, for several years, regarded as one of the leading contenders to succeed Angela Merkel as Chancellor. In 2010 she was Merkel's preferred candidate for President of Germany, but her nomination was blocked by the conservative wing of the CDU/CSU. From 2018 until her nomination as European Commission president she was described as the favourite to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as Secretary General of NATO. Die Welt reported that von der Leyen "is highly respected in the alliance" and that "all the [NATO] defence ministers listen when she speaks."
President of the European Commission
On 2 July 2019, von der Leyen was proposed by the European Council as their candidate for the office of President of the European Commission. On 16 July, she won with 383 to 327 votes. Germany abstained from the vote to nominate her. An article in The Guardian says that the reason for Germany's refusal to vote for her is that von der Leyen is divisive. She is the first woman to hold the office and the first German since the Commission's first president, Walter Hallstein.
When she lived in Brussels, her little sister Benita-Eva died of cancer at the age of eleven and she remembered "the enormous helplessness of my parents" in view of the cancer, which she cited as one of her reasons in 2019 that her EU Commission "to take the lead in the fight against cancer".
At the press conference announcing her nomination, European Council President Donald Tusk noted von der Leyen's intention to retain Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans during her administration. Timmermans has previously been one of the "lead candidates" (German: Spitzenkandidat) for the Commission's presidency.
Following her nomination as a candidate for Commission President, the Commission provided her with a salary, office, and staff in Brussels to facilitate negotiations between the EU institutions as to her election. These arrangements were extended, to enable a smooth transition, during her period as President-elect, until the new College of Commissioners is confirmed by the European Parliament and takes office in November. In light of her new role, von der Leyen resigned her seat in the German Bundestag on 31 July 2019.
Von der Leyen supported the proposed European Union–Mercosur free trade agreement, which would form one of the world's largest free trade areas. The fear is that the deal could lead to more deforestation of the Amazon rainforest as it expands market access to Brazilian beef.
Von der Leyen unveiled the new proposed EU Commission's structure (whom she deemed to be a "geopolitical" one) on 10 September 2019, renaming a number of posts of the College of Commissioners to make them sound less formal and more goal-oriented, including the controversial portfolio for "Protecting our European Way of Life", a vice-presidency responsible for the coordination of migration, security, employment and education policies. The later portfolio's name drew heavy criticism, as it was considered to carry a xenophobic message linking the protection of the "European Way of Life" to migration policies. The proposed structure for the College also saw the "unexpected" promotion of EPP's Valdis Dombrovskis to a role of executive vice-president, up to a number of three executive vice-presidencies, equalling the roles entrusted to Timmermans and Margrethe Vestager.
In March 2020 von der Leyen's Commission turned down the idea of suspending the Schengen free travel zone in order to introduce border controls around Italy, at that time the European centre of the coronavirus pandemic, The decision drew criticism from some European politicians. After some EU member states announced closure of their national borders to foreign nationals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, von der Leyen said that "Certain controls may be justified, but general travel bans are not seen as being the most effective by the World Health Organization. Moreover, they have a strong social and economic impact, they disrupt people's lives and business across the borders." Von der Leyen condemned the U.S. decision to restrict travel from the coronavirus-affected Europe to the United States.
In August 2020, von der Leyen called for sanctions against Belarus after the security services in Minsk reacted violently to sustained street protests triggered by the officially communicated results of the presidential election. Slightly less than a month later the Greek prime minister asked for sanctions against Turkey, citing von der Leyen's stance over Belarus as an obvious precedent, but von der Leyen explained that Turkey and Belarus are "two different situations".
Von der Leyen is a member of the German branch of the European Movement. She is, or has been, also a member of several boards of trustees:
- Total E-Quality initiative, Member of the Board of Trustees
- Mädchenchor Hannover, Member of the Board of Trustees
- World Economic Forum (WEF), Member of the Board of Trustees (2016-2019)
- World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, Co-Chair (2017)
- Munich Security Conference, Member of the Advisory Council (2013–2019)
- 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, Member of the Board of Trustees (2010–2011)
Childcare and parental leave
Ursula von der Leyen assumed her office as Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth in 2005. Amidst protest, particularly from the conservative wing of her party, the CDU, she introduced the Child Advancement Act (Kinderförderungsgesetz), which reserved 4.3 billion euros for the creation of childcare structures throughout Germany.
Von der Leyen also introduced the German Elternzeit, a paid parental leave scheme. Following Scandinavian models, the scheme reserves two additional months for fathers who go on parental leave as well (Vätermonate in German). This part of the law, in particular, attracted protest from some German conservatives. Catholic Bishop Walter Mixa accused von der Leyen of turning women into "birthing machines". Meanwhile, Bavarian colleagues from von der Leyen's sister party, the CSU, complained that men did not need a "diaper-changing internship". Von der Leyen successfully influenced public opinion of her reforms with a 3-million-euro PR campaign, which was criticized for using public funds for political advocacy and for employing embedded marketing techniques.
Blocking internet child pornography
Ursula von der Leyen advocated the initiation of a mandatory blockage of child pornography on the Internet through service providers via a block list maintained by the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany (BKA), thus creating the necessary infrastructure for extensive censorship of websites deemed illegal by the BKA.
These actions brought her the nickname "Zensursula", a portmanteau word blending the German word for censorship ("Zensur") and her given name ("Ursula"). The combination of a sensitive topic like child pornography and internet censorship is said to have caused a rising interest in the Pirate Party.
In July 2009, she referred to the problems of struggling against paedophile pornography on the internet as the responsible persons often use servers located in Africa or India, where, she said, "child pornography is legal". This claim was based on a 2006 study by the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children. However, child pornography is, in fact, illegal in India, which has much stricter rules about erotic media than Germany. She later expressed regret for having cited an inaccurate study.
Women board quota
In 2013, von der Leyen unsuccessfully campaigned for a statutory quota for female participation in the supervisory boards of companies in Germany, requiring company boards to be at least 20% female by 2018, rising to 40% by 2023.
Von der Leyen is a proponent of a more assertive foreign policy. One striking example was the decision in September 2014 to send arms to Kurdish and Iraqi security forces. This decision broke a longstanding taboo on Germany's dispatching of weapons to a conflict zone.
On the deteriorating relationship between Europe and Russia during the 2014 Crimean crisis, she argued that "the reliance on a functioning business relationship with Europe is much, much bigger in Russia" and that sanctions should prod the oligarchs and Russian business. She also called for more significant NATO backing of the Baltic states amid the Crimean dispute.
Von der Leyen has supported close security cooperation with Saudi Arabia. German opposition parties criticized Germany's defence plan with Saudi Arabia, which has been waging war in Yemen and was condemned for massive human rights violations. In 2016, von der Leyen caused controversy after she refused to wear a hijab while visiting Saudi Arabia. She said: "It annoys me when women are to be pushed into wearing the abaya."
In 2017 von der Leyen noted that "healthy democratic resistance of the younger generation" in Poland must be supported. In some Polish media, it was understood that she instigated opposition aimed to overthrow the allegedly anti-democratic and authoritarian PiS government; the statement was branded as scandalous. The Polish Foreign Minister made sarcastic comments about "Prussian tone of the Ode to Joy". The Polish Minister of Defence summoned the Germany military attache and demanded explanations. The German embassy in Warsaw and spokesman for the German defence ministry in Berlin issued conciliatory statements. The German media mostly ignored the incident; some acknowledged a "minor slip of the tongue" on the part of von der Leyen, yet also noted that German-Polish relations were "severely damaged".
Von der Leyen responded to Donald Trump's criticism of the Russian-backed Nord Stream 2—a pipeline for delivering natural gas from Russia to Germany—in an interview with the BBC: "We have an independent energy supply, we are an independent country, we are just diversifying."
In a 2011 interview with Der Spiegel, von der Leyen expressed her preference for "a united states of Europe – run along the lines of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the USA" which would capitalize on Europe's size by agreeing on core issues relating to finance, tax and economic politics.
With 2014 marking the centenary of the start of World War I, von der Leyen – in her capacity as defence minister – inaugurated a memorial for the Armistice Day in Ablain-Saint-Nazaire alongside French President François Hollande and North Rhine-Westphalia State Premier Hannelore Kraft, as well as British and Belgian officials.
In 2015, von der Leyen argued that a form of EU army should be a long-term goal. She also said that she was convinced about the goal of a combined military force, just as she was convinced that "perhaps not my children, but then my grandchildren will experience a United States of Europe". In March 2015, she and her counterparts from France and Poland, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Tomasz Siemoniak, revived a meeting format intended to promote co-operation between the three countries in crisis zones by holding their first meeting between the Weimar Triangle defence ministers since 2007.
Following the 2016 European Union membership referendum in the United Kingdom, she argued that the UK had "paralysed" European efforts to integrate security policy and "consistently blocked everything with the label 'Europe' on it." She has described Brexit as "a burst bubble of hollow promises." In an interview with The Guardian days after her election to succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission, she stated that the withdrawal deal agreed between Theresa May and chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier would remain the basis of any future talks. She also stated that the EU should extend the Brexit deadline beyond 31 October 2019. In November 2019, at Paris Peace Forum, von der Leyen said that there is need for stable and responsible leadership in Europe and that the bloc must increase foreign policy budget spending by one-third.
When the Federal Constitutional Court ruled in favour of tax equality to same-sex couples in 2013, von der Leyen came forward in support of equal adoption rights, arguing that "I know of no study that says that children growing up in same-sex partnerships fare any differently than children who grow up in heterosexual marriages or partnerships." In June 2017, Von der Leyen voted against her parliamentary group's majority and in favour of Germany's introduction of same-sex marriage.
- Grand Cross of the Order for Merits to Lithuania (2 March 2017)
- Commander of the National Order of Mali (4 April 2016)
- Ursula von der Leyen, C-reaktives Protein als diagnostischer Parameter zur Erfassung eines Amnioninfektionssyndroms bei vorzeitigem Blasensprung und therapeutischem Entspannungsbad in der Geburtsvorbereitung, doctoral dissertation, Hannover Medical School, 1990
- Ursula von der Leyen, Maria von Welser, Wir müssen unser Land für die Frauen verändern. Bertelsmann, Munich, 2007, ISBN 978-3-570-00959-8
- Ursula von der Leyen, Liz Mohn, Familie gewinnt. Bertelsmann Foundation, 2007, ISBN 978-3-89204-927-2
- The process for electing the president of the European Commission is described in Article 17(7) of the Treaty on European Union.
- The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker criticized Von der Leyen's decision, saying: "I don’t like the idea that the European way of life is opposed to migration. Accepting those that come from far away is part of the European way of life." Philippe Lamberts, the president of the Greens–European Free Alliance at the European Parliament, said: "An all-white European Commission claiming to protect 'our European way of life' is a far cry from the idea of unity in diversity on which this union is built. Von der Leyen must present a better proposal".
- Arne Delfs (22 January 2014), "Merkel Succession Beckons After Von der Leyen’s Defence Posting", Businessweek.
- "First woman nominated to lead EU Commission". BBC. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- "EU leaders pick Germany's von der Leyen to lead Commission". POLITICO. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- "MEPs back von der Leyen as EU Commission head". BBC News. 16 July 2019.
- "Consolidated version of the Treaty on European Union – TITLE III: PROVISIONS ON THE INSTITUTIONS – Article 17". eur-lex.europa.eu. Official Journal of the European Union. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
- "Ursula von der Leyen: The 100 Most Influential People of 2020". Time. Retrieved 23 September 2020.
- "Ursula von der Leyen: eine Karriere". www.ndr.de.
- Barker, Alex; Peel, Michael; Jones, Claire; Mount, Ian; Roberts, Hannah (2 July 2019). "Christine Lagarde and Ursula von der Leyen: meet the EU's next leaders". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- "Ursula von der Leyen – Biografie WHO'S WHO". www.whoswho.de.
- "Ursula von der Leyen: Is this the next woman to become Chancellor of". The Independent. 15 December 2013.
- "Der denkmalgeschützte Bau drohte zu verfallen: Altes Knoop-Mausoleum für 90000 Euro restauriert". Bild (in German). Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- Register of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of South Carolina, p. 35, The Society, 1945
- "Albrecht," in Deutsches Geschlechterbuch, Vol. 17, Görlitz 1910.
- Arthur Meredyth Burke, The Prominent Families of the United States of America
- Fischer, Frauke. "Ehrengast mit Bremer Wurzeln". WESER-KURIER.
- "Chi è Ursula von der Leyen, che sarà la nuova presidente della Commissione Europea". Il Post. 2 July 2019.
- Erik Kirschbaum (22 April 2013), "Feisty German minister stands up to Merkel", Reuters.
- "Ursula von der Leyen" (in German). Wirtschaftswoche. Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 3 January 2016.
- Berlin, Derek Scally in. "Ursula von der Leyen profile: Who is proposed new EU Commission president?". The Irish Times.
- Alice von Bota (29 December 2006). "Small Talk auf höchster Ebene". Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- ONLINE, RP. "Reit-EM: Von der Leyen macht im Sattel eine gute Figur". RP ONLINE.
- "LSE alumna Ursula von der Leyen elected EU Commission head". London School of Economics and Political Science. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
- Mendick, Robert; Huggler, Justin (3 July 2019). "Ursula von der Leyen, nominee for EU top job, lived in London under alias to escape Baader-Meinhof gang". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- David Crossland (15 December 2013), "'Heir to Angela Merkel' appointed Germany's first female defence minister", The Daily Telegraph.
- "Dr. Ursula von der Leyen". Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands. 14 March 2013.
- "Röschen geht in die Verteidigung", (Rosie goes military) Constantin Magnis, Cicero September 2013
- "Who is Germany's Ursula von der Leyen, the surprise candidate set to take the EU's top job?". www.thelocal.de. 3 July 2019.
- "Germany Appoints 1st Female Defense Minister", Defense News, 16 December 2013
- Moulson, Geir (2 July 2019). "Von der Leyen: pro-EU fixture in Merkel's Cabinets". AP NEWS.
- "Who is Ursula von der Leyen, the New EU Commission President?". Time.
- Amann, Melanie (26 September 2015). "Verteidigungsministerin: Plagiatsjäger nehmen sich von der Leyens Doktorarbeit vor". Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- "German Defense Minister Von der Leyen denies plagiarism | DW". Retrieved 2 August 2019.
- "Ursula von der Leyen: Kritiker bewerten Arbeit als "eindeutiges Plagiat"". WELT. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- "Plagiatsaffäre: Von der Leyen darf Doktortitel behalten". Spiegel Online. 9 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- Greiner, Lena; Gebauer, Matthias; Töpper, Verena (9 March 2016). "Trotz Plagiaten: Darum darf von der Leyen ihren Doktor behalten". Spiegel Online (in German). Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- Müller, Reinhard (10 March 2016). "Von der Leyen und Plagiat: Doktorspiele". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- Warnecke, Tilmann; Burchard, Amory (9 March 2016). "Ursula von der Leyen darf Doktortitel behalten". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). Retrieved 30 July 2019.
- Who is EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen Euronews Retrieced 16 July 2019
- "Who is new EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen?". euronews. 16 July 2019.
- "German Opposition Split Over Reforms", Deutsche Welle, 8 October 2003.
- Matthew Tempest (17 August 2005), "Merkel unveils 'cabinet' ahead of German elections", The Guardian.
- Dempsey, Judy (18 August 2005). "Merkel puts small team forward". New York Times.
- Timot Szent-Ivanyi (25 October 2005), "Gutverdiener sollen höhere Kassenbeiträge zahlen", Berliner Zeitung.
- "Bilateral agreements reached at first Israeli-German intergovernmental consultations", Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, press release of 17 March 2008.
- Elizabeth Fullerton (27 November 2009), "Merkel moves German family minister to labor job", Reuters.
- "Nachfolge von Franz Josef Jung: Von der Leyen wird Arbeitsministerin". Spiegel Online. 27 November 2009.
- "A guide to future chancellors?", The Economist, 21 December 2013.
- Stefan Wagstyl (15 December 2013), "Merkel cabinet choice set to restart debate on successor", Financial Times.
- Philip Oltermann (15 December 2013), "Ursula von der Leyen appointed as Germany's first female defence minister", in The Guardian dated 15 December 2013.
- Sabine Siebold, "Merkel says German multiculturalism has failed", Reuters, 16 October 2010
- "Philippines and Germany conclude agreement to deploy Filipino health care professionals to Germany", Department of Foreign Affairs (Philippines) press release of 19 March 2013.
- "Köhler-Nachfolge: Arbeitsministerin Von der Leyen Favoritin". Nachrichten.at. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- Madeline Chambers (9 June 2010), "Germans want opposition president in blow to Merkel", Reuters.
- Annika Breidthardt (13 November 2010), "Big German protests pressure Merkel before CDU meet", Reuters.
- Annett Meiritz und Philipp Wittrock (4 December 2012), Neue CDU-Führungsriege: Merkel und die fünf Fragezeichen Spiegel Online.
- Creutzburg, Dietrich; Schwenn, Kerstin. "Koalitionsverhandlungen: Ein ungleiches Paar". Faz.net – via www.faz.net.
- Jonathan Laurence (23 December 2013), "New Government, New Responsibilities: Will Merkel's Team of Rivals Do Anything Differently?" Brookings Institution.
- Council of the EU and Ministerial meetings European People's Party (EPP).
- Fallon, Michael (3 July 2019). "Yes, Ursula von der Leyen is an EU federalist, but she knows she can't afford to alienate Britain". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- Andrea Shalal (18 October 2018), German defense ministry orders reforms, inquiry into use of consultants Reuters.
- "German defence minister makes surprise Afghanistan visit", Deutsche Welle, 13 December 2014.
- Derek Chollet (25 March 2015), Europe’s Rising Defence Stars[permanent dead link] Defence One.
- Madeline Chambers (29 September 2015), Germany says no rigid deadlines for troops' stay in Afghanistan Reuters.
- "German defense minister tells troops in Afghanistan to prepare for long haul". Deutsche Welle. 25 March 2018.
- Erste Deutsch-Türkische Regierungskonsultationen in Berlin Federal Government of Germany, press release of 15 January 2016.
- Jennings, Gareth (4 May 2016). "Germany to set up permanent facilities at Incirlik". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. 53 (18): 6.
- Gebauer, Matthias (25 April 2016). "Kampf gegen IS: Bundeswehr baut "Tornado"-Stützpunkt in der Türkei" [Fight against IS: Bundeswehr builds "Tornado" base in Turkey]. Spiegel Online (in German). Archived from the original on 26 April 2016. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
- Andrea Shalal and Tulay Karadeniz (13 June 2016), Germany, Turkey to finalize deal on Incirlik base work in weeks-spokesman Reuters.
- David M. Herszenhorn (6 February 2015), Ukraine Insists Any Pact With Russia Must Adhere to Terms of September Accord New York Times.
- Top NATO General Warns of Russian Reaction to Arming Ukraine New York Times, 5 February 2015.
- Laurens Cerulus (16 September 2015), Germany says Hungary’s use of tear gas is ‘not acceptable’ Politico Europe
- Michael Nienaber (28 January 2016), German parliament approves more soldiers for Mali, Iraq Reuters
- Justin Huggler (2 June 2014), German army to offer soldiers crèches and flat-screen TVs The Daily Telegraph.
- Justin Huggler (12 September 2014), After army crèches and cosy barracks, Germany has new idea for troops – shorter working hours The Daily Telegraph.
- Ben Knight (27 April 2017), German Defense Ministry sacks general over abuse scandals Deutsche Welle.
- Reuters Editorial (17 March 2015). "Germany to boost mid-term defense spending". Reuters.
- "Germany, Italy may increase submarine fleets".
- "Germany's Army To Procure 131 New Boxer Armored Personnel carriers". Defense News. 17 December 2015.
- "Germany plans to develop new fighter jet to replace Tornado". Channel NewsAsia. Archived from the original on 5 January 2016.
- "German military to bring back mothballed tanks". DW.COM.
- Madeline Chambers (3 December 2015). "More assertive Germany considers bigger army as Syria vote looms". Reuters.
- Smale, Alison (5 June 2016). "In a Reversal, Germany's Military Growth Is Met With Western Relief". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- Tomkiw, Lydia (10 May 2016). "Germany Announces First Military Expansion Since Cold War Amid Cyber Threats, US Pressure". International Business Times. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- "Germany to Expand Bundeswehr to Almost 200,000 Troops". Deutsche Welle. 21 February 2017. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- Stefan Wagstyl (6 October 2014), "Ursula von der Leyen vows to tackle Germany military budget", Financial Times.
- Michael Nienaber and Victoria Bryan (23 January 2015), "Germany's Defense Minister Criticizes Airbus Over New A400M Delays", New York Times
- Andrea Shalal (2 August 2016), Germany seeks further 12.7 mln euros from Airbus for A400M delays, Reuters
- Andrea Shalal (10 February 2017), German, Dutch militaries agree to deepen cooperation: source Reuters.
- Franz-Stefan Gady (27 May 2015), Will India Purchase German Stealth Submarines? The Diplomat.
- Douglas Busvine (27 May 2015), Germany lobbies India to buy Eurofighters, submarines Reuters.
- "Surge in German arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Turkey". Deutsche Welle. 10 January 2019.
- "Germany's Angela Merkel makes arms export pact with France". Deutsche Welle. 18 February 2019.
- "Ursula von der Leyen tries to contain fallout over consultant". Financial Times.
- Delcker, Janosch (15 July 2019). "The scandal hanging over Ursula von der Leyen". POLITICO.
- Von Der Burchard, Hans (14 January 2020). "Von der Leyen under pressure over second wiped phone". POLITICO.
- Knight, Ben (21 December 2019). "German Defense Ministry 'illegally' wiped phone data of Ursula von der Leyen". DW.
- Scott, Mark (21 December 2019). "German lawmaker files criminal complaint over von der Leyen's wiped phone". POLITICO.
- Schlechtes Ergebnis für von der Leyen, Spiegel Online, 7 December 2018
- Merkels Erben, Philipp Wittrock, Spiegel Online, 6 December 2016
- Hintergrund: Das neue CDU-Präsidium, General-Anzeiger, 9 December 2014
- Stefan Wagstyl (9 December 2014), "Merkel eyes relief for German taxpayers", Financial Times.
- Dempsey, Judy (16 December 2013). "Merkel's Surprise: A Woman in Charge of Defense". Carnegie Endowment.
- "Merkel takes oath of office, begins third term", Deutsche Welle, 17 December 2013.
- Alison Smale (28 September 2014), "Seeking Global Role, German Military Stumbles", New York Times.
- Stefan Wagstyl (5 October 2014), "German defence ministry and arms industry come under fire", Financial Times.
- "Who are the EU's new leaders?". EUobserver.
- An interview with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Foreign Policy
- Wird von der Leyen die nächste Nato-Generalsekretärin?, FAZ
- Von der Leyen als Nato-Generalsekretärin im Gespräch, Die Welt.
- Schiltz, Christoph B. (17 February 2018). "Verteidigungsministerin Ursula von der Leyen als Nato-Generalsekretärin im Gespräch". Die Welt – via www.welt.de.
- Oltermann, Philip (4 July 2019). "'Not the best candidate': Germans condemn own choice for top EU job". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 April 2021.
- Barigazzi, Jacopo; Herszenhorn, David M.; Bayer, Lili (2 July 2019). "EU leaders pick Germany's von der Leyen to lead Commission". POLITICO europe. Retrieved 2 July 2019.
- Donahue, Patrick; Bodoni, Stephanie (2 July 2018). "EU Leaders Tap Germany's Von Der Leyen as Commission Chief". Bloomberg. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
- "EU-Kommission: Von der Leyen sagt Krebs den Kampf an". Retrieved 6 December 2019.
- Kostaki, Irene (5 July 2019). "Commission prepares for von der Leyen transition". New Europe. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
- "Deutscher Bundestag – Ausgeschiedene Abgeordnete der 19. Wahlperiode" [German Bundestag – Outgoing Members of the 19th legislature]. Deutscher Bundestag (in German). Retrieved 16 October 2019.
- "EU-Mercosur deal divides both sides of the Atlantic". EURACTIV. 11 July 2019.
- "Amazon fires spark European rift at G7 over Mercosur trade deal". Deutsche Welle. 24 August 2019.
- "We must not barter the Amazon rainforest for burgers and steaks". www.theguardian.com. The Guardian. 2 July 2019.
- "Timmermans unhappy with Dombrovskis unexpected 'promotion'". www.euractiv.com. EURACTIV. 11 September 2019.
- Schumacher, Elizabeth (11 September 2019). "EU post to 'protect European way of life' called 'disgusting,' 'reprehensible'". www.dw.com. Deutsche Welle.
- "EU accused of adopting 'fascist rhetoric' with new Commissioner For Protecting Our European Way of Life to oversee immigration policy". The Independent. 11 September 2019.
- Nielsen, Nikolaj (10 September 2019). "'Migration' is now 'protecting European way of life'". euobserver.com. EUobserver.
- "New EU post to protect European Way of Life slammed as 'grotesque'". Reuters. 10 September 2019.
- "Juncker criticizes von der Leyen over 'European way of life' commissioner". Politico. 12 September 2019.
- "EU Parliament Chief Questions 'European Way of Life' Title". The New York Times. 12 September 2019.
- "Coronavirus: EU rules out Schengen border closures amid Italy outbreak". Deutsche Welle. 24 February 2020.
- "Salvini and Le Pen Don't Have a Coronavirus Cure". Bloomberg. 25 February 2020.
- "Coronavirus: Europe's open borders threatened by spread of disease". The Independent. 28 February 2020.
- "Coronavirus: European borders likely to remain open despite crisis in Italy, observers say". South China Morning Post. 7 March 2020.
- "Coronavirus Nightmare Could Be the End for Europe's Borderless Dream". The New York Times. 26 February 2020.
- "Denmark, Poland and Czechs seal borders over coronavirus". Financial Times. 12 March 2020.
- "EU condemns Trump travel ban from Europe as virus spreads". Associated Press (AP). 12 March 2020.
- "EU Calls for Sanctions on Belarus After Disputed Elections". VOA News. 14 August 2020.
- "Greek PM: "It is not possible for the EU to adopt a different stance on Belarus and another on Turkey"". Greek City Times. 20 August 2020.
- "Merkel and Macron vow to 'preserve' EU sovereignty in eastern Mediterranean". Euractiv. 21 August 2020.
- Ursula von der Leyen. Europa-Union Deutschland.
- Board of Trustees Total E-Quality.
- Board of Trustees Archived 2 February 2017 at the Wayback Machine Mädchenchor Hannover Foundation.
- World Economic Forum Announces New Board of Trustees World Economic Forum, press release of 25 August 2016.
- Meeting Overview: 2017 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa World Economic Forum.
- Advisory Council Munich Security Conference.
- WM-Kuratorium unter Vorsitz von Dr. Thomas Bach FIFA, press release of 30 September 2008.
- "BMFSFJ – Pressemitteilungen – Ursula von der Leyen: "Der Weg zum Ausbau der Kinderbetreuung ist frei"". 23 March 2010. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010.
- "Full portrait of von der Leyen's work" (Press release). New York Times.
- Getarnte Werbung – Die fragwürdigen PR-Kampagnen der Bundesregierung ("Stealth advertising – The questionable PR campaigns of the federal government"). Report Mainz, Südwestrundfunk, 27 August 2007 (in German)
- Focus Online: "Kinderpornografie: Der Traum von der Internetsperrung" (in German)
- Der Spiegel Online: "Zensursula" geht in die Offensive (in German)
- Reißmann, Ole (16 October 2009). "Stoppschild für Zensursula". Spiegel Online (in German). Spiegel.de. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
- "MDR: Interview". Archived from the original on 13 July 2011.
- online, heise. "Familienministerium hält an Zahlen zur Verbreitung von Kinderpornographie fest". heise online.
- Peters, Katharina Graça (15 July 2009). "Ächtung von Kinderpornografie: Von der Leyen brüskiert Indien mit falscher Anschuldigung". Spiegel Online.
- "MDR.de "Von der Leyen gesteht Fehler ein"". Archived from the original on 25 July 2011.
- "Rammstein: "Liebe Ist Für Alle Da" wird verboten". Laut.de. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
- Quentin Peel (14 April 2013), "Merkel faces snub over women board quotas", Financial Times.
- Alison Smale (1 February 2014), "Spurred by Global Crises, Germany Weighs a More Muscular Foreign Policy", The New York Times.
- "German foreign policy: No more shirking", The Economist, 8 February 2014.
- Alison Smale (12 March 2014), "Ukraine Crisis Limits Merkel's Rapport with Putin", The New York Times.
- "German defense chief von der Leyen calls for stronger NATO backing in Ukraine crisis", Deutsche Welle, 23 March 2014.
- "German Bundeswehr to train Saudi army officers". Deutsche Welle. 8 December 2016.
- "Opposition parties condemn German defence plan with Saudi Arabia". The Local. 8 December 2016.
- "Germany to train Saudi soldiers despite Yemen war concerns". Deutsche Welle. 29 April 2019.
- "German minister causes controversy after refusing to wear hijab on Saudi visit". The Jerusalem Post. 14 December 2016.
- “Dieser gesunde demokratische Widerstand der jungen Generation dort auch in Polen, die muss man unterstützen. Also es ist unsere Aufgabe auch, sozusagen diesen Diskurs aufrecht zu erhalten”, Polen empört über von der Leyen-Äußerung bei „Maybrit Illner“, [in:] PI-News service 6 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019
- Szef MON reaguje na skandaliczne słowa niemieckiej minister resortu obrony. Antoni Macierewicz domaga się "złożenia wyjaśnień”, [in:] WPolityce service 3 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019; Skandaliczna wypowiedź niemieckiej minister obrony. Jest reakcja ministra Macierewicza, [in:] Niezalezna service 3 November 2017, Retrieved 3 July 2019; Polska reaguje na skandaliczną wypowiedź niemieckiej minister. Waszczykowski łagodnie, Macierewicz ostrzej...[permanent dead link], [in:] PrawdaObiektywna service 4 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019; Skandaliczna wypowiedź niemieckiej minister. Polska odpowiada – Waszczykowski łagodnie, Macierewicz ostro, [in:] NajwyższyCzas service 3 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019; Skandaliczna wypowiedź niemieckiej minister. Polska odpowiada – Waszczykowski łagodnie, Macierewicz ostro, [in:] Wolnosc24 service 3 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019
- He declared that von der Leyen tampered with Polish internal affairs, speculated about a German tendency to influence Polish domestic politics, and regretted reportedly increasingly patronizing German stand towards Poland. Szef MON wzywa attache obrony Niemiec. Lapsus językowy?, [in:] PolskieRadio service 4 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019; Waszczykowski: Pomruki pruskiego tonu w tonacji "Ody do radości", [in:] Fronda service, undated. Retrieved 3 July 2019
- Szef MON wzywa attache obrony Niemiec. Lapsus językowy?, [in:] PolskieRadio service 4 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019
- they claimed that German foreign policy was not forged on TV-shows, that von der Leyen's words were taken out of context and that the general tone of her statement was highly sympathetic towards Poland. Attache obrony Niemiec wezwany do MON. Ambasada "Mamy nadzieję, że to kończy sprawę", [in:] GazetaPrawna service 6 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019; Justyna Suchecka, Ambasada Niemiec odpowiada Macierewiczowi: Nie kształtujemy polityki w trakcie talk-show, [in:] GazetaWyborcza service 4 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019
- "kleinen Ausrutscher"
- mostly because allegedly hysterical and oversensitive stand of the populist Warsaw government, "Endlich haben wir die deutschen Politiker erwischt"[permanent dead link], [in:] SpiegelOnline service 8 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019; similar tone in Gerhard Gnauck, Philip Kuhn, Von der Leyen löst Verstimmungen in Polen aus, [in:] Welt service 6 November 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2019
- "Trump and Merkel exchange barbs in showdown over Russia's pipeline". Bloomberg. 11 July 2018.
- Helen Pidd (12 March 2014). "Ursula von der Leyen: Germany's next chancellor?". The Guardian.
- Natalie Muller (11 November 2014), Hollande, von der Leyen, Europe observe Armistice DayDeutsche Welle.
- "Juncker calls for collective EU army", Deutsche Welle, 8 March 2015.
- MoD Siemoniak: EU needs new security strategy Polskie Radio, 31 March 2015.
- Stefan Wagstyl (13 July 2016), Germany calls for more joint European military initiatives Financial Times.
- Crisp, James (2 July 2019). "EU picks Ursula von der Leyen – who called Brexit 'a burst bubble of hollow promises' – to be first woman to rule Brussels". The Telegraph – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
- Oltermann, Philip (18 July 2019). "Ursula von der Leyen: hard Brexit would be massive blow for both sides". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 July 2019.
- "Next EU Commission chief wants to increase foreign spending". 660 News. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
- Melanie Amann, Dietmar Hipp and Peter Müller (11 June 2013), Vater and Vater: Gay Adoption Debate Flusters Conservatives Der Spiegel.
- Carsten Wagner (30 June 2017), "Ehe für alle": Niedersachsen-CDU uneins in Berlin Norddeutscher Rundfunk.
- "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 24 December 2020.
- Bryer, Tania (21 December 2020). "European Commission's Ursula von der Leyen wins Global Citizen prize after turbulent year". CNBC. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
- "Germany's defmin to get high Lithuanian state award". Delfi.
- DNB, Katalog der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek (Thesis) (in German). Portal.d-nb.de. Retrieved 1 December 2011.