European Union, European Council, European Commission. Der Spiegel: Charles Michel engages in a grotesque battle with Ursula von der Leyen

Charles Michel, President of the European Council, is to coordinate the policies of the EU Member States. Instead, he engages in a grotesque power struggle with the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and has a powerful protector, French President Emmanuel Macron, writes the weekly Der Spiegel.

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“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 discourse – strategic autonomy, free trade agreements, unity makes us stronger – slogans that many of those present must have heard many times already,” wrote 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 raises the topic of financing a 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, “Der Spiegel” states.

The weekly magazine indicated that the words of the President of the European Council, “are aimed in particular at one person: 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. ”

As Der Spiegel wrote, In the EU, “there are differing views on whether financing the border fence by Brussels would make sense. Von der Leyen’s voice actually settles the matter (…). 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. ” It added that “this is not a role Michel sees himself in.”

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The European Council, chaired by ‘Michel,’ is the most powerful body in the EU. It is made up of heads of state and government. However, just because the Council is powerful doesn’t mean that Michel is too. Its main task is to coordinate the policies of the Member States. It is a task that can be accomplished mainly when it is not noticed from the outside. ”

“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 it employs approximately 32,000 people. workers who dispose of hundreds of billions of euros ”. As Der Spiegel emphasized, this has already led to conflicts in the past. But while his predecessors struggled internally, Michel turned it into a public struggle for power ”

The weekly recalls that “during a joint visit to Ankara in April, the world witnessed how the two highest representatives of the European Union competed 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 found himself next to Erdogan. Von der Leyen had to sit on the couch at some distance from him ”. The scandal was quickly given an appropriate name: Sofagate.

See also: MEP: The gesture of the head of the European Commission is not only a “diplomatic blunder”

‘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 the EU summits, “Der Spiegel assessed.

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“His desire for recognition is so great that even his colleagues shake their heads,” noted the weekly. “The president of the European Council is the president of the European Council, not the president of Europe,” said former head of Michel Francois Roux’s office, “in an analysis that reads like a settlement with his former boss. Michel, of course, wants to be the president of Europe. ”

Der Spiegel stressed that “Michel considers himself a politician, not a bureaucrat. This is part of the problem. ” Added: “He is still young. Perhaps he is too young for the office, which limits his ambitions. ”

According to people who know Michel, he believes that “von der Leyen is not working on the same level as he is. He was the head of government (Belgium), she was just the minister of defense. ” “Criticism against Michel is getting louder,” says one EU diplomat.

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Nevertheless, “he is likely to remain in office. It belongs to the family of liberal parties and is under the protection of the President of France. This is the essence of the personnel packages that are created in the EU, taking into account nationality, party affiliation and professional status. They cannot be undone, “wrote Der Spiegel.

See also: Von der Leyen: That was the red line for me

“As long as Michel does what Macron wants, he’s safe,” says one diplomat, adding, “The show will go on.”

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#European Union

#charles michel

#ursula von der leyen

#European Council


#emmanuel macron


#the European Commission


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