EU Commission candidate von der Leyen grilled by legislators

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Parliament groups are grilling the German candidate for European Commission president before they take a vote on her appointment next week.

Ursula von der Leyen, the German defense minister, was the surprise candidate that European Union member states settled on last week, and even if she is set to be backed by the major groups in parliament, there has been stinging criticism of the way she was put forward as a candidate.

Legislators wanted one of the lead candidates of the groups to become European Commission president, but that initiative was scuttled by leaders under pressure from France, Italy and several eastern member states.

The European Commission president post is now held by Jean-Claude Juncker. Like Juncker, von der Leyen is from the Christian Democrat European People's Party.