The presidents of the European Commission and the European Council must talk to each other to iron out resistance and the differences between the two official systems of the EU. This is what former commission chairman Jean-Claude Juncker said in a conversation with the NOS, now the dust has cleared the collision in Turkey went down.
During a visit to Turkish President Erdogan in Ankara, the President of the European Council had a seat next to Erdogan and the President of the European Commission just a bench opposite the Turkish Foreign Minister.
“Ehhh…” by Commission President von der Leyen, when she determined that the seats had already been occupied by the two men, went viral on social media. #Sofagate was born. Sexism and Divide and Rule across Turkey were the first analyzes. But then the chairman of the board, Charles Michel, received the wind from the front. He hadn’t recognized the uncomfortable diplomatic situation.
Later it turned out that his officials in particular were involved in the preparations for the meeting, and those of the European Commission much less.
Juncker believes that the two presidents must first and foremost keep talking to each other. “During my time, I worked with two board chairmen: Van Rompuy and Tusk. It was not always easy, but by talking to each other we resolved the differences.”
According to Juncker, Ankara Musical Musical Chairs are the brainchild of Commission and Council officials who have different interests and are sometimes involved in trench warfare. According to Juncker, the two presidents must rise above or else the machine will break down.
Juncker is unequivocal about this machine, the foreign policy of the European Union: “According to the protocol, the President of the European Council is number one, the President of the Commission is number two. It has never bothered me.”
“But both are necessary,” Juncker continued, “because the President of the Commission is in charge of foreign trade and the President of the Council is in charge of diplomacy. They need each other. Vice -President of the Commission. “
Publicly put in a corner
Recently, things have often gone wrong in representing the EU to the outside world. Foreign Commissioner Borrell has been publicly cornered by the Russian Foreign Minister. And before that, the European Commission hastily drew a sensitive border between Ireland and Northern Ireland in an attempt to stop the smuggling of vaccines. This creates mistrust on both sides of Rue de la Loi in Brussels, where the Council and Commission buildings are located.
“The Commission must implement rules and not engage in foreign policy,” said the European Council. The public profile of the two presidents also arouses mutual irritation. The overly optimistic communication from the President of the Commission in widely broadcast video messages irritates the Council. The newsletters and Facebook messages of the President of the Council are again provoking resentment within the Commission.
Solve it yourself
According to Jean-Claude Juncker, the fact that the two presidents sometimes seem to have difficulty crossing a door, they must resolve themselves. For an effective European foreign policy, they must work as a team, regardless of what their officials are doing.
When there is a good relationship, it works and there is little ambiguity, is Juncker’s reasoning. “I dealt with Obama and Trump in the United States, and they always knew exactly who to call. Usually they called us both.”