Charles Michel, the President of the Council of EU Heads of Government, sleeps badly “out of shame” since Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, did not receive an appropriate seat earlier this week on a visit to Turkish President Erdogan.
He said that on Saturday in the German newspaper Handelsblatt. “I make no secret that I haven‘t been able to sleep well since that moment, because the images continue to take place in my head,” says Michel. The EU President added that if he could turn back time and undo it, he would.
During the visit, Von der Leyen was stripped off with a seat on the bank opposite Erdogan’s foreign minister, far from Erdogan and Michel. The visibly disgrunted committee chairman asked for this in vain. Michel kept silent, and that was charged to him by many. The affair is now called “sofagate”.
Michel defended himself on Wednesday against the sharp criticism that he should have intervened. However, he said on Facebook that the “harrowing situation” that Von der Leyen ended up in did not leave him cold. But when they realized what an awkward state they had ended up, “we chose not to aggravate it with a scene.” They wanted to give priority to the issues they wanted to discuss with Erdogan.