“I still hope you remain,” she said, warning the British authorities to “sort its side of things on Brexit”. Mrs von der Leyen was speaking at a European Parliament hearing ahead of a vote on her nomination next week.

She vowed to make the EU more ambitious on climate change and pressed for more gender balance within the bloc. Mrs von der Leyen, who is currently the German defence minister, is due to take over from Jean-Claude Juncker on 1 November if approved by parliament. Mrs von der Leyen tackled the thorny issue, calling on British lawmakers to take responsibility for sorting out the UK’s departure. She said a divorce deal negotiated by outgoing UK PM Theresa May with EU leaders was “a good one”, in her first public comments on Brexit since being nominated.

She warned the two men vying to replace Mrs May as leader, Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, that the “tone and attitude” of Brexit was vital for setting out future relations between both sides.