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Incoming EU commission boss sets out priorities for bloc

By Associated Press Reporter

The EU Commission president-elect has said her ambitious agenda at the head of the European Union's executive will centre on the "existential issue" of battling climate change.

Ursula von der Leyen told the EU plenary hours before she and her team of commissioners were set to be approved that she would work on "a European Green Deal" so the EU can continue to be a global leader on the climate change issue.

Ms Von der Leyen said that "climate change is about all of us.

"We have the duty to act and the power to lead."

She has said that she will come forward with a comprehensive plan within the first 100 days of her tenure, which is set to start on Sunday.

Addressing Brexit, Ms von der Leyen tweeted in English to insist on close cooperation with the UK although she said she was still a Remainer.

She tweeted: "We all know that one member of our family intends to leave our Union.

"I have made no secret that I will always be a Remainer.

"But I will also always respect the decision taken by the British people."

The UK is currently due to leave the bloc on January 31.

Ms Von der Leyen's move into the position of European Commission, previously held by Jean-Claude Juncker, was delayed after the European Parliament delayed a vote on the appointment of her team because of displeasure with several of the candidate commissioners on the 28-strong team.

The European Commission, the powerful executive arm of the European Union, proposes laws and ensures they are implemented throughout the bloc.

On December 1, the same day that Ms Von der Leyen takes office, Charles Michel will take over from EU Council president Donald Tusk.

Ms Von der Leyen hopes she can centre on more positive policies.

"Our greatest achievements have come when we are bold," she said.

One issue where she already made major strides is gender balance.

The first female commission president vowed that "every commissioner will have a gender-balanced cabinet".

"It will change the face of the commission," she said.

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