“Michel has his own idea of his place in Europe, as was once again seen on November 9” at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, where he delivered the State of the Union address. “He collected the typical elements of the EU’s discourse: strategic autonomy, free trade agreements, unity makes us stronger: slogans that many of those present must have heard many times already” – writes the German weekly.
“The interesting part of the speech was almost lost that evening. A few meters from the former Berlin Wall (> There is no better time, no better place to talk about the future of Europe <) Michel talks about the financing of the new border facility. The facility is to be built on the external border of the EU, between Poland, Latvia and Lithuania on the one hand, and Belarus on the other. Michel is not talking about the wall, but about the> physical border infrastructure <, but that does not detract from the importance of his words“
– states “Der Spiegel”.
“They are aimed in particular at one person: the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen“who is” strongly opposed to such a project. And she said it clearly shortly before Michel’s speech at the EU summit “
– notes the weekly.
Within the EU, “there are differing views as to whether financing the border fence by Brussels would make sense. Von der Leyen’s voice is rightly decisive (…). If Michel really wanted to finance the wall, he shouldn’t have demanded it publicly in Berlin, nor a day later in Warsaw. Instead, he should have tried to organize the majority of the member states behind the scenes, without publicly disregarding von der Leyen“- writes Der Spiegel”. But “this is not a role in which Michel sees himself” – he adds.
The European Council, chaired by “Michel,” is the most powerful body in the EU. It includes heads of state and government. However, the fact that the Council is powerful does not mean that Michel is too. Its main task is to coordinate the policies of the member states. a task that can be carried out mainly when it is not noticed from the outside. “
On the other hand, “The Belgian wants to be noticed. His biggest rival (in the fight) for attention is across the street, on the 13th floor of the massive Berlaymont building. Ursula von der Leyen formally manages only one body, but with around 32,000 employees. who are distributing hundreds of billions of euros. “
The dispute came to light
Already in the past “this has led to conflicts. But while his predecessors struggled internally, Michel turned it into a public power struggle“- underlines” Der Spiegel “.
The weekly recalls that “during a joint visit to Ankara in April, the world witnessed two of the highest representatives of the European Union competing for power and prestige. The meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was prepared by Michel’s protocol team.” As a result, “the chairman of the council was next to Erdogan. Von der Leyen had to sit on the couch some distance from him.” The scandal was quickly given an appropriate name: Sofagate.
“Michel’s behavior is detrimental to the EU because the dispute weakens the Community. It is also harmful because the President-in-Office of the Council is neglecting his real tasks. Many governments, including German, are dissatisfied with Michel. It is said that he travels too much and does not care enough to prepare EU summits “
– writes “Der Spiegel”.
“His desire for recognition is so great that even his colleagues shake their heads,” notes the weekly. “The president of the European Council is the president of the European Council, not the president of Europe,” writes ex-head of Michel’s office, Francois Roux, “in an analysis that reads like settling accounts with his former boss. Michel obviously wants to be president of Europe.”
“Michel considers himself a politician, not a bureaucrat. This is part of the problem.”
– underlines “Der Spiegel”. “He is still young. Perhaps he is too young for the office, which limits his ambitions” – he adds.
According to people who know Michel, he believes that “von der Leyen is not on the same level as he. He was the head of government (Belgium), she was just the minister of defense.” “Criticism against Michel is getting louder“- says one of the EU diplomats.
Nevertheless, “he is likely to remain in office. He belongs to the family of liberal parties and is under the protection of the President of France. This is the core of the personal packages that are created in the EU, taking into account nationality, party affiliation and professional status. They cannot be undone” – writes “Der Spiegel”.
“As long as Michel does what Macron wants, he is safe”
– assesses one of the diplomats and adds: “The show will continue”.
Source: niezalezna.pl, PAP, Der Spiegel