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.
— Alberto Alemanno (@alemannoEU) November 6, 2018
Luke James said ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt gave Orban “a taste of his own medicine”.
Guy Verhofstadt giving Viktor Orban a taste of his own medicine by launching this ad van that's going to be outside the Hungarian embassy in Brussels today and later Budapest pic.twitter.com/w29MrNjum6
— Luke James (@LEJ88) November 6, 2018
While Belgian MEP Hilde Vautmans said “Europeans have to speak out against Orban’s politics” because he “takes our money but not our values”.
— Hilde Vautmans (@hildevautmans) November 6, 2018
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”.
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) November 7, 2018
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.
Show these pics from 2015 and today to anyone who tells you Brussels still doesn't believe Brexit is going to happen! pic.twitter.com/gQxDZISwvJ
— James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) November 7, 2018
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.
…but surely he knows the only flag worth having on a fridge is on an A+++ EU #EnergyLabel ??@SmegUK don't produce any fridges with the top EU rating, so @guyverhofstadt's new model will be costing at least twice as much to run as more efficient alternatives?@CoolproductsEU https://t.co/324zIbBp4d
— Anton Lazarus (@_antlaz_) November 7, 2018
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.
#Brexit: the hearing on the reversibility of article 50 (case number C-621/18) will take place on November, 27th
— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) November 7, 2018
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.
— Krishnan Guru-Murthy (@krishgm) November 6, 2018
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.
— EURACTIV (@EURACTIV) November 8, 2018
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.
— Manfred Weber (@ManfredWeber) November 8, 2018
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.
POLL: who would make the best @EU_Commission President?
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) November 8, 2018
But Evan O’Connell, among others, still thinks that Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier will still get the nod to take over from Juncker.
So, today Manfred Weber, a hard-right Bavarian nobody wants a European Commission President, will be picked by the EPP over experienced international statesman Alex Stubb to be the right’s candidate for a job Barnier will probably end up getting anyway.
— Evan O'Connell (@evanoconnell) November 8, 2018
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.
And look at this… Manfred Weber having his picture taken right in front of Barnier – as he talks, as he struggles to hold the room pic.twitter.com/7LcpTyv5nm
— Darren McCaffrey (@DarrenEuronews) November 8, 2018
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%”.
.@alexstubb gets last word: "What makes me the happiest of all, it is the simplest fact that I can stand 100 percent behind our candidate to lead us into the European elections. I think he is an absolutely fantastic guy & we should support him 100 percent." @EPP #Spitzenkandidat
— David M. Herszenhorn (@herszenhorn) November 8, 2018
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.
The @alexstubb campaign is providing refreshments which are proving very popular. I can’t really say that they are selling like hot dogs, though, because a) they are free and b) they actually *are* hot dogs. pic.twitter.com/4U2gSsTveK
— Nicholas Whyte (@nwbrux) November 7, 2018
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.
Ever wondered what #Spitzenkandidaten process means & how Europe's main political groups will choose their picks for EU top jobs? Hot topic in #Brussels corridors as #EUelections2019 loom closer. Watch our explainer @EURACTIV & join the talk! [link update] https://t.co/FReij09iN7
— Alexandra Brzozowski (@alex_owski) November 7, 2018
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.
Italy’s deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini has just broken up with his girlfriend and she’s just posted this on Instagram. pic.twitter.com/RVx6rYWXXB
— Mark Di Stefano ?? (@MarkDiStef) November 5, 2018
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.
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) November 5, 2018
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.
European liberals are at the #ALDECongress in Madrid ?? In our #EP2019 ?? manifesto we will push for freedom ?️, opportunity ? & prosperity ?, to break down barriers that divide us. We'll fight against those who want instability & nationalism. Join us to #fightlikealiberal ? pic.twitter.com/njnQvsQ51c
— ALDE Party (@ALDEParty) November 7, 2018
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!