EU cracks show as von der Leyen faces meetings ‚ban‘ | World | News

Ursula von der Leyen faces the possibility of being humiliated by being prevented from attending meetings surrounding her future.

Long-term political rival Charles Michel has put forward the idea of the European Commission president being banned from joining discussions about who is going to take the EU’s top jobs, following the recent elections.

Michel, the president of the European Council, began his feud with von der Leyen in 2021 during an episode that has become known as „sofagate“.

The Belgian sought to steal the limelight from the German EU Commission president, during a visit to President Erdogan of Turkey.

When meeting the Turkish leader, there was only one seat available next to him, which Mr Michel took – relegating Ms von der Leyen to a sofa far from the action. Since then, the pair have apparently been ill at ease with each other.

In the wake of the European elections, Mr Michel suggested to EU leaders and their aides that von der Leyen should be barred from the June 17 meeting.

His rationale for why she should miss the key meeting, where the EU’s key roles are decided, rested on her seeking a second term and leading the European People’s Party group.

One EU diplomat said, according to Politico: „If he wants to eliminate her from the room, he should eliminate himself as well.“

Another said: „Member states are increasingly irritated about Charles Michel’s role in the selection process for the Commission President. It seems to be driven by purely personal motives.“

Referencing Mr Michel’s perceived backroom dealing, a third diplomat said: „There’s some irritation.“

The meeting on June 17 will see attendees have to decide the next presidents of the European Commission, the European Council (Mr Michel’s position) and the European Parliament, besides the next foreign policy chief.

According to Politico, there are some rumblings that Mr Michel may be maneuvering to become the new foreign policy boss.

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