These doubts have simmered since the start of her tenure in 2019, when she was condemned for a “disgusting” and “reprehensible” move.
Ms von der Leyen was accused of creating a new position with a xenophobic message as she announced plans to create an office for “protecting our European way of life”.
The plan received widespread criticism from those in Europe.
Sophie in ‘t Veld, a progressive Dutch MEP, said: “Creating a portfolio ‘Protection of the European way of life’ in response to ‘legitimate fears and concerns about the impact of irregular migration’ is totally misguided and reprehensible.”
Ska Keller, a German lawmaker who heads the Green party bloc in the European Parliament, also voiced her concern that the new post implied a “contradiction between supporting refugees and European values.”
Damien Careme, a French member of the Greens, said the portfolio name was “an abomination.”
He added: “It looks pretty but when one realises that it means he will be in charge of migration, integration and security, then it’s absolutely disgusting.”
He added: “I am confident that we can take great strides over the next five years to both protect and empower Europeans.”
Ms von der Leyen’s office also responded to the criticism.
Her representatives said that the name of the portfolio had been in her public strategy papers since July that year, and that the purpose of the office was to coordinate cross-border development and fighting terrorism, as well as protect values and democracy.