She also took a potshot at Emmanuel Macron after the French president vetoed the accession negotiations with Albania and northern Macedonia last month, insisting that the EU must "honor its word". In a speech on the European state held in Berlin, the European Commission President-elect Mrs von der Leyen emphasized EU forces as a bastion of openness and democracy in a troubled world, saying Brexit had forged a tighter group of remaining members of the bloc. She added: "We must go our own European way with confidence.
" Soft power alone is not enough today if we Europeans want to assert themselves in the world.
"Europe must also learn the language of power."
"On the one hand, it means developing our own muscles ̵
She added, citing trade ties with China: "On the other hand, it means engaging our available power with more focus. "
Von der Leyen, a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, takes over as President of the Commission on December 1, after postponing his start date one month back.  She said: "We need to be more strategic in view of Europe's external interests," and emphasized that this included the EU's enlargement policy.
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“They fulfilled in their entirety. Now we have to honor our word and facilitate accession negotiations. "
As regards climate policy, she said that Europe could play a leading role in the world and show that green investment can be profitable and sustainable.
She added:" We can and must make Europe the first climate neutral continent in 2050.
"Therefore, I will present the first European Climate Protection Act that implements this policy objective in binding law.
" We only have this planet. We must act now. "
A former German defense minister who will be the Commission's first female chief, Mrs. von der Leyen was elected by EU leaders as a unitary candidate and part of a package to break a deadlock over who will run the EU's leading institutions Born in Brussels, von der Leyen, 61, is a fluent English and French speaker and worked closely with Paris to promote European defense projects.
But she had a difficult time as German Defense Minister, with the former German Army Secretary. member Hans-Olaf Henkel told Express.co.uk in July: "You only need to study the reactions of the officers of the German army, the Bundeswehr, to get an objective picture of her qualification: a great sigh of relief!"  " Von der Leyen is responsible for the greatest disarmament of a German army after its defeat during two world wars.
"German tanks are not running, German aircraft are grounded, German naval vessels are anchored due to lack of maintenance, resources and personnel."