Tweets of the Week: Boris runs away, Democracy Debate and Commissioner Hearings preparation

This week, Boris pulls a runner, British democracy makes MEPs shudder, and commissioner hearings may be set for a stunner.

This episode is sponsored by PostEurop, hear more about them at the end.

[To start off with] Twitter couldn’t get enough of the bizarre spectacle that played out in Luxembourg following Boris Johnson’s Brexit meeting with President Juncker and Luxembourgish Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

Protesters greeted Johnson as he arrived, prompting reporter Nick Guttridge to already ask how on earth the planned press conference was going happen.

When it came time for it, Johnson refused to take part, prompting The Times’s Bruno Waterfield to ask him, “are you running away prime minister?”

In the end, Bettel held the press conference anyway, with an empty podium next to him where Boris was meant to be.

Given that Johnson had just days earlier compared himself to the Incredible Hulk, his running away prompted endless ridicule on the interwebs.

MLEX’s Lewis Crofts added the Luxembourgish prime minister to the list of villains who have defeated the Hulk.

While Guy Verhofstadt said that instead of the Hulk, Johnson should try channeling Mrs Doubtfire.

Even the actor who played the Hulk weighed in, noting he’s best when he’s in a team, and a disaster when he’s alone.

On Wednesday in Strasbourg, a Brexit debate turned into a pissing contest between the European Union and the United Kingdom about who is the more undemocratic these days.

Jean-Claude Juncker opened the debate by taking a swipe at Johnson’s order shutting down parliament for two weeks, allegedly to avoid Brexit scrutiny.

When one Brexit MEP posted a video about not being able to speak, parody account Martini Seltzermayer sympathetically suggested she urgently table a question on it in the House of Commons – which is currently closed.

Telegraph reporter James Crisp said it was “surreal” to hear EU politicians criticising the UK for being undemocratic.

But considering we’re talking about a country with an unelected monarch and upper house of Parliament, I’m not sure how “surreal” it is really.

Meanwhile eyes are turning to the Parliament’s confirmation hearings for Ursula Von Der Leyen’s nominated commissioners.

The Parliament always likes to reject at least one nominee to flex its muscles, but given the humiliation it suffered in July over the spitzenkandidat fiasco, this time it may want to reject two or even three.

The EPP made it clear who it has in the crosshairs by releasing demands clearly targeting France’s Sylvie Goulard and Belgium’s Didier Reynders, as Euractiv’s Sam Morgan pointed out.

Euractiv’s polling has Hungary’s László Trócsányi as the most likely to be rejected because of his part in implementing Hungary’s dismantling of rule of law institutions. Poland’s Janusz Wojciechowski could be in trouble for the same reasons.

And Margaritas Schinas, the former Commission spokesman now nominated to be the Vice President For Protecting Our European Way of Life”, will be rejected by Renew Europe unless his title is changed, according to French MEP Pascal Canfin.

We did get some indications this week that Von der Leyen will comply, prompting Berlaymonster to helpfully suggest these alternative titles for Schinas.

This week we’re supported by PostEurope, the association public postal operators. To find out more about their priorities for the Von Der Leyen Commission, check out their manifesto.

That’s it for this week, join us next Friday when Jen will be back for more wheeling, dealing, ducking and diving in the Brussels Bubble Twittersphere.

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