The President of the European Commission, who is standing for re-election, has been called into question on a number of issues, including the appointment of a CDU MEP to a lucrative post leading to a deepening rift between her and another commissioner, Thierry Breton.

Ursula von der Leyen’s campaign for re-election to the presidency of the European Commission, following the European elections scheduled for June 6-9, has only just begun, and she is already under attack. With less than two months to go before the elections, the European People’s Party (EPP) candidate of the European right to head the EU executive is seeing the number of fronts on which she is being attacked by multiple figures within the organization. One of them is Thierry Breton. The French commissioner for the Internal Market of the European Union started a barrage of attacks on Von Der Leyen, with the intent of weakening the current President of the EU Commission.

While Von Der Leyen is quiet on her rift with Breton, in her own camp, people would like her to be more on the offensive. Within the EPP (the party from which Von Der Leyen is issued) members criticize her for having, over the past five years, pursued a policy that is too green, too social and too Francophile, far removed from the fundamentals of the CDU. She was clearly warned of this on March 7, when, at the EPP congress which chose her as a candidate for the Commission presidency, only 499 of the party’s 801 delegates took part in the vote and 400 gave her their vote.

“Despite her qualities, Ursula von Leyen is marginally supported by her party. The key question now is whether it’s feasible to entrust European governance to the EPP for 5 more years, totaling 25 consecutive years. The EPP itself seems to have little faith in its candidate,” Breton, belonging to the liberal Renew Europe family, wrote on social media.

According to the Brussels Times, Breton’s words warranted a response from the General Secretary of the EPP Thanasis Bakolas. “Thank you, Commissioner Breton, for your interest in the EPP and our lead candidate. I know the liberals are anxious about the upcoming European elections – having no foresight, no message, no relevance.”

Meanwhile, Ursula Von Der Leyen is not only in the spotlight due to the words of Thierry Breton. MEP Markus Pieper’s recent appointment as the bloc’s “Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Envoy” has sparked unrest among von der Leyen’s most senior colleagues in the European Commission, who are now demanding answers about how Pieper — a German Christian Democrat — was appointed, writes Politico. The bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Commissioners Thierry Breton, Nicolas Schmit and Paolo Gentiloni have written to von der Leyen over the appointment, according to a letter obtained by Politico and dated March 27.

Such a controversial decision has served as an opening to Thierry Breton, the ally of Emmanuel Macron and French billionaire Bernard Arnault. While the initial reports have speculated that Macron was angry with the approach Breton took regarding Von Der Leyen, who is considered to be a supporter of the French President as well, Mr. Breton himself has denied that such a reaction took place.

“You should know that I leave nothing to chance, I wait for the right moment,” Breton told Libération. The EU Internal Market Commissioner said that von der Leyen, in a “totally unprecedented move,” had breached the neutrality of her position as European Commission president by announcing she was a candidate to remain in the Commission’s top job. He added that Macron “loved” his public attack on the Commission’s chief.

Nevertheless, Breton’s attacks on Von Der Leyen were widely criticized within Macron’s Renaissance party and also led to an internal memo circulating in the Commission to remind commissioners not to undermine the institution that employs them.

Needless to say, the current climate within the European Commission, 2 months before the elections, is quite toxic due to the intricate games of several political figures. While Ursula Von Der Leyen fits the interests of Emmanuel Macron quite well, the French president’s camp is divided on how to advance regarding how much support or criticism should Von Der Leyen receive. While half of the Rennaisance group seemingly support the reelection of the current president of the European Commission, the other is looking for an opportunity to install someone even more loyal to the interests of France.

In that regard, it is worth noting that even the conservative forces in French politics are withdrawing their support for Von Der Leyen. The Republican party, in the face of its leader Francois-Xavier Bellamy, has already claimed that they will not support Von Der Leyen’s reelection.

While the French side seemingly decided to look for opportunities beyond Von Der Leyen, the Italian one is surprisingly going with the current German Commissioner.

During the right-wing political convention in Rome on March 23, Marine Le Pen asked the following question: “I have a real question for the Italian Prime Minister: Prime Minister, will you or will you not support a second term of office for Mrs von der Leyen?”

The message was not received well by Meloni’s side. Carlo Fidanza, head of the Fratelli d’Italia delegation in Brussels, provided a strong warning in an interview with the newspaper La Stampa: “Giorgia has always said that she doesn’t accept it when a foreign politician tells her what to do. That applies to the Left, whose interference we are unfortunately used to. But it also applies, and I would say even more so, to the Right.”