Tweets of the Week: von der Leyen’s pitch, Greece elections, Hello Kitty takeover

Ursula von der Leyen meets with MEPs to keep candidacy afloat, Greek citizens cast their votes, and Hello Kitty steals the show. This episode is supported by the European Snacks Association

It was an important week for Commission President nominee Ursula von der Leyen.

It has been just over a week since she was nominated and everyone is still getting to know who she is. Like the fact that she was once hoisted out of a barrel on TV by actor Hugh Jackman and kissed by George Clooney after handing him an award.

von der Leyen spent the week making the rounds to speak with MEP’s from different political groups as she tried to build a coalition.

She came in with a left friendly pitch, according to Ryan Heath. She called for a gender-equal commission, Europe to be the first “climate-neutral” continent, and UK to stay in the EU.

She also promised to “anchor the spitzenkandidaten system,” which many found ironic and amusing.

But her pitch wasn’t good enough to get any endorsements.

On Wednesday night the Greens announced they will vote against her, citing a lack of “concrete proposals” on climate change or rule of law.

The Green parties spitzenkandidaten Ska Keller tweeted “We have been elected for a mandate of change and we don’t see how this will be possible with her.”

MEP Damian Boeselager said he expected her answers to be more concrete, leading him to wonder whether she was evading questions or just did not know the answers? 

GUE MEPs have also announced their decision to oppose von der Leyen. After meeting with her on Thursday morning, the group said “her responses were insufficient to satisfy the basic aspirations of EU citizens.” 

As for the other political groups, they say they’ll announce their decisions next week. MEP’s are expected to vote on van der Leyen’s nomination on Tuesday.

While it is not clear whether EPP candidate will have the votes to be the next Commission President, they do have another leader on the world stage. 

Over the weekend, voters in Greece went to the polls to cast their votes in a snap election. 

The results were a landslide. Left wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was trounced by center-right conservative politician Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Looking to cement his authority, Misotakis got right down to business. By Monday afternoon, the outside of the Presidential Palace was already being prepared for the inauguration.

And just over a day after the votes were counted, he was sworn in as Greece’s new Prime Minister.

The two men posed for a photo as the outgoing Prime Minister handed over the offices. Derek Gatopoulos notes it was a little more formal this time around. In 2015, the outgoing PM just left the keys under the rug.

At least that is better than the Prime Minister before that, Antonis Samaras. He flat out refused to hand over the keys and had his staff start removing items from the offices.

On Tuesday, the commission announced a 6.2 million euro fine against Sanrio, the maker of Hello Kitty for banning traders from selling to customers in other EU countries.

Once the midday press briefing rolled around, and spokesperson for competition policy Ricardo Cardoso took to the podium, the popular children’s character stole the show. 

Aoife White saluted Cardoso for keeping a straight face as he read different aliases for the famous character, saying it would be a bad idea to play poker with him. 

After the briefing, Cardoso quipped “It took a lot of self discipline to prepare for this – picture the Rocky training montage but with Hello Kitty characters.”

Cardoso should be proud of his performance, according to Pablo Perez, Tuesdays press briefing should go down among the top 3 of all time.

This week we are supported by the European Snacks AssociationTo find out more about the world of savoury snacks and challenge your perceptions, follow them at @ESA_Snacks

Jennifer Baker will be back next week with more tweets and treats from the Brussels Bubble Twittersphere.


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