European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is downright humiliated by Turkish president Erdogan, who did not set up a chair for her at a summit meeting in Ankara on Tuesday. Brussels is currently doing everything in its power to prevent such a painful situation from ever occurring again ‘anywhere in the world’.

On social media, not only the Turkish president gets his ass kicked, but also European president Charles Michel, who, according to much-watched video footage of the meeting, quickly stole the ‘European’ chair and left Von der Leyen to her fate. After a surprised ‘ehm’, the German chose an anonymous place on a sofa. The call lasted about two and a half hours. Whether she has considered running away is unclear, in any case she chose to stay ‘and thus give content and diplomacy priority over protocol’, said her spokesperson Eric Mamer this afternoon in an almost one-hour-long question fire. ,,She assumed that this is what the people of Europe expect of her.”

According to Mamer, Von der Leyen takes the issue so highly because she represents the European Commission as president. He stressed that the presidents of the Council and the Commission (Michel and VDL) were on the same level in protocol and should therefore also be treated the same when travelling abroad, for example. Von der Leyen did not bring a protocol specialist to Ankara because of the coronavirus restrictions.

The fact that Von der Leyen did not get a suitable place, also bothers her travel companion Michel. The president of the Council of EU heads of government defended himself against the sharp criticism that he should have intervened. His silence is imputed to him by many. Von der Leyen’s ‘distressing situation’ does not leave him indifferent, the Belgian claims on Facebook.

They chose to ‘not aggravate the uncomfortable situation with a scene’, but to give priority to the issues they wanted to discuss with Erdogan, it sounds. Michel regrets that the riot ‘overshadows the important and useful work we did together in Ankara’ and ‘that the impression has arisen that he would have been indifferent’ to what happened to Von der Leyen. He assures that he is “proud” of the fact that he is allowed to work with women in the highest political ranks.

The Belgian MEP Assita Kanko (N-VA) said on Twitter this morning that he was shocked by the images. ‘As chairman of the committee, Ursula von der Leyen was not offered a seat. This really breaks my heart and goes against everything I stand for’, she writes. “Do women have to sit by the fireplace?” And why did Michel sit down? Why couldn’t he go to his place, turn around, look at Von der Leyen and show solidarity? Statement. I look forward to the debate. Not only she, but also the EU was humiliated here. I don’t take it.’

Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘ t Veld (D66) also wonders why Charles Michel remained silent. ‘This was not a coincidence, this was intentional’, she writes on Twitter about the action of host Erdogan. ‘Why doesn’t Michel say anything?’ Michel and his staff will not respond.


About the author: Dorian Vogt

Dorian Vogt is the founder of WeeklyNewsReview project and prolific author of many articles here and beyond. His experience is in guiding others is hard to overestimate. His main interests is Zürich city topics. You can't find anyone more in the know about the local news.

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