European Social Democrats ask to review the protocol to avoid a new ‘sofagate’. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, apologizes to the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and all the women who were offended by the rudeness of Ankara.
The president of S&D, Iratxe García, asks both presidents to present a proposal to review the protocol and avoid new conflicts such as the one in Ankara. The institutional visit of the European Union to Turkey a week ago was called to mark a new point in the battered relations between Ankara and Brussels.
However, the ‘sofagate’ , as the diplomatic crisis in which the head of the Community Executive, Ursula von der Leyen , was relegated to the background on a sofa during a high-level meeting while the president will go down in history of the European Council, Charles Michel , who sat in a central place next to Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan , has slipped squarely onto the European agenda.
A week after the outrage, both leaders came on Tuesday to explain the event before the conference of presidents of the European Parliament , which brings together President David Sassoliand the presidents of the different political groups. Both have entered the room separately, accompanied by their respective teams, and have also left separately and several minutes apart.
Between one moment and another, two hours of appearance in which the Belgian liberal politician has “solemnly” apologized to Von der Leyen and to “all the women who have been offended” and in which he has justified his lack of reaction in “Not spoil the important trip” to Ankara that “they had been preparing for so long,” according to sources familiar with the discussion that took place behind closed doors.
For her part, and as she already warned on Monday during her weekly coordination meeting with Michel, the first after the disastrous trip to Ankara, the president of the European Commission has revealed the discomfort she experienced at the time, she recalled that she He had already criticized Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention , aimed at protecting women from sexist violence , and has made it clear that “this will not happen again.”
Review the protocol
Precisely to avoid a similar diplomatic conflict in the future, the president of the group of European Social Democrats, Iratxe García, has asked both Von der Leyen and Michel to present in two weeks, before the plenary session of the European Parliament, a proposal to review the protocol .
“I have asked both of them to present us with a proposal in two weeks on how to prevent these possible protocol conflicts that all they do is blow up the prestige of the EU abroad. We are talking about a diplomatic conflict that has occurred and that has attacked the image and gender perspective, but it also affects the prestige of the EU in the world and we cannot afford this situation at this time ”, he recalled.
The leader of the ranks of the Socialists has admitted having been offended by the images of Von der Leyen standing while Michel and Erdogan sat in two brand-new chairs presiding over the Ankara meeting and has indicated that she has accepted the apology.
“Women have had to work and fight a lot to break the barriers and glass ceilings and therefore I believe that these types of situations and circumstances should not occur”, has insisted on a crisis that “is not just another anecdote” and “That says a lot about the situation in which we find ourselves.” Are you convinced by Michel’s apology? “Yes, he has seen the disaster that has been and he is not stupid either!”, Has valued the co-president of the Greens, Philip Lamberts .