Ursula von der Leyen faced the European Parliament on Tuesday ahead of a knife-edge secret vote to confirm her in Brussels' top job.
The 60-year-old conservative will replace Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission if she secures a majority in the Strasbourg assembly.
If she fails – and the ballot could be close – then Europe faces a summer of institutional infighting between parliament and the 28 EU leaders.
And if her victory is close or is secured only thanks to eurosceptic members, her position will be weakened even before she takes over as the commission's first female leader in November.
The vote is scheduled to begin in the Strasbourg assembly at 6pm (1600 GMT) and the result announced up to two hours later.