The major political groups in the European Parliament deplored Thursday the image of disunity given Tuesday in Ankara by the presidents of the institutions during their meeting with the Turkish president and asked them to come and explain themselves in plenary.
A video showing European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, sitting on a couch away from Council President Charles Michel, during their meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara has shocked many MEPs.
“The meeting in Ankara of Presidents von der Leyen and Michel should have sent a message of firmness and unity of the European approach towards Turkey. Unfortunately, it was translated into a symbol of disunity, the presidents having failed to form a united front when necessary. We expect more from Europe’s foreign policy, “lamented the German Manfred Weber, president of the Group of the European People’s Party (EPP) (pro European right) who called for a plenary debate.
The president of the Socialists and Democrats group, the Spaniard Iratxe Garcia Perez also asked for the hearing of the presidents of the two institutions “to clarify what happened” and to see “how to ensure respect for the European institutions”.
The images of the meeting in Ankara “hurt” and show “something organized”, accused the French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune.
“I do not want a naive, fragile Europe. We are dealing with interlocutors, the Turkish president, who know the strength of images, the value of symbols. We must be much more firm,” he said. launched.
On Wednesday, Ursula von der Leyen made known her displeasure at being placed on the back seat and demanded to be treated as the equal of the President of the Council.
However, according to the European protocol, the latter takes precedence over the Commission internationally, as former Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reminded Politico.
Turkey said Thursday the accusations against it were “unfair”, saying that the arrangement of the seats at the heart of the controversy had been suggested by the European side, the visit having been prepared by the EU ambassador in Ankara .
“The requests of the EU have been respected. This means that the seating arrangements were made at their request. Our protocol services met before the meeting and the (EU) request (s) were respected, “said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
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