During a salute at the EU-Africa Summit in Brussels, Uganda’s foreign minister shrugged off Commission President von der Leyen. The incident reminds us of “Sofagate”, a similar incident with Turkish President Erdogan last year. As then, Charles Michel stood idly by. French President Macron intervened.
Commission President von der Leyen, European President Michel and French President Macron received delegations from various African countries at the summit in Brussels. Ugandan Foreign Minister Yoweri Museveni passed by von der Leyen without greeting or acknowledgment to greet Michel and Macron. The man did not intend to retrace his steps to shake hands with the head of the commission until Macron pointed out to him. Von der Leyen didn’t get a hand, but a welcome conversation.
In April last year, von der Leyen encountered something similar during a visit with Charles Michel to Turkish President Erdogan. When the European leaders arrived, only two chairs were ready. Michel sat on a chair next to Erdogan, while von der Leyen had to sit on a sofa next to the room. The incident was considered sexist. Michel was criticized for his negative attitude towards the humiliation von der Leyen had to endure.
Read also. Charles Michel no longer sleeps after Erdogan’s ‘chair incident’
In an interview afterwards, the European president indicated that he was very concerned about the incident. And that makes the surprise even bigger this time, because Michelle made it happen again. The criticism of the former prime minister caught on again.