Tweets of the Week: Orban protest, Weber selected, and Salvini gets dumped

Welcome to EURACTIV’s Tweets of the Week. This week it’s Orban’s face on a van, Manfred’s the EPP man and Salvini loses a fan.

This episode is supported by the ALDE party.

And it was ALDE that gave us one of the most unconventional moments of the week, with a larger-than-life picture of Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, plastered on the side of a van, in the latest stage of the PR war between Brussels and Budapest.

Luke James said ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt gave Orban “a taste of his own medicine”.

While Belgian MEP Hilde Vautmans said “Europeans have to speak out against Orban’s politics” because he “takes our money but not our values”.

Verhofstadt also made another symbolic point, this time in his office kitchen. His much treasured Union Jack fridge is OUT, replaced with a brand new EU-flag-branded model. The ALDE leader tweeted that he hopes “one day it might return”.

James Crisp called it “one of the most under-reported tragedies of Brexit” and suggested that it is proof enough that Brussels is sure the UK will definitely leave the EU and complete Brexit.

But Anton Lazarus pointed out that the maker of The Hof’s shiny new cooler doesn’t produce any models that meet the EU’s top level energy label.


Keeping Brexit news to an absolute minimum this week, the European Court of Justice revealed that it will rule on whether the all-important Article 50 letter, triggered by the UK, can actually be reversed.

If the EU judges rule it can, that will please a good number of Brits, more and more of whom would now back remain, according to a major new poll.

That could prove a major headache for the next president of the European Commission, who may turn out to be the EPP’s Manfred Weber, after party members meeting in Helsinki chose the Bavarian to be their lead candidate.

Weber won with nearly 80% of the vote and will now go on a tour around the EU as his campaign kicks off in earnest.

Martini Seltzermayr asked the twittersphere who would make a better president, Weber or an old broom handle. Early results suggest that the stiff piece of wood is going to win in a landslide.

But Evan O’Connell, among others, still thinks that Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will still get the nod to take over from Juncker.

Although, the silver-haired Frenchman had to endure a rough time during his speech, when the rest of the room rudely talked among themselves and took selfies with each other.

At the end of the day, Finnish ironman Alex Stubb’s youth-focused campaign wasn’t enough to convince EPP heads to give him the nod but he was gracious in defeat, insisting he will support Weber “100%”.

But his fresh take on the Spitzenkandidat process has threatened to shake things up. As Nicholas Whyte tweeted, giving away free hotdogs was a good idea, even if it didn’t quite carry him to victory.

Speaking of the murky world of the Spitzenkandidat process, take a look at my colleague Alexandra’s straightforward explainer video, which will guide you through the whole convoluted affair.

But Stubb wasn’t the only politician left disappointed this week. Italy’s hot-headed interior minister Matteo Salvini got more than he bargained for when he logged onto Instagram, where he found out that he had been dumped by his girlfriend.

The far-right Lega leader later tweeted that despite a busy day of work ahead in Africa, his phone was ringing off the hook for other reasons and lamented that some people have other priorities.

That’s it for this tweets of the week. Thanks to ALDE for supporting this edition, check out their twitter feed to follow all the action from their congress in Madrid.

Jennifer Baker will have probably escaped from the phantom zone to return for hosting duties next time around, so be sure to tune back in then!

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