Soleimani airstrike causes international strain, VDL heads to London by taking a plane, and Harry and Meghan decide being Royal’s a pain.
If you thought you were going to be eased gently into the 2020s, UNLUCKY, as not even three days into the new year, Donald Trump’s itchy trigger finger sent an airstrike to assassinate Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani.
The move — said by many to be impulsive — hugely inflamed tensions in the region.
MEP Hannah Neumann wondered whether Trump even knew whom he was targeting.
I really wonder whether @realDonaldTrump knew whom he targeted that day… And if it was as discussed here, why was there noone to stop him?! We really need some geopolitical independence from this US government. https://t.co/hdIa6ej6c5
— Hannah Neumann (@HNeumannMEP) January 6, 2020
Adding the warmongers have taken over.
#Iran no longer adheres to #JCPOA #NuclearDeal #Iraq parliament asks USA to leave the country
Noone speaks about #Iraqiprotests and #Iranprotest and their struggle for more democracy and the grave human rights abuses committed against them.
The warmongers have taken over.
— Hannah Neumann (@HNeumannMEP) January 5, 2020
Council president Charles Michel was among the first to respond, saying, “Further escalation must be avoided at all cost.”
The cycle of violence, provocations and retaliations which we have witnessed in #Iraq over the past weeks has to stop.
Further escalation must be avoided at all cost.
Full statement: https://t.co/olx1jLa5ba
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) January 3, 2020
On Tuesday, Damon Wake reported that British, French, German and Italian foreign ministers were all on their way to Brussels for talks on the Iran and Libya crises.
British, French, German and Italian foreign ministers are all on their way to Brussels for talks on the Iran and Libya crises. #breaking
— Damon Wake (@damonwake) January 7, 2020
But Jon Stone pointed out that “it’s pretty stark with the Iran crisis rolling on that the UK will have a seat at the table at the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on 20 January to discuss the issue, but then at the next meeting on 17 February, they just won’t be there.”
it's pretty stark with the Iran crisis rolling on that the UK will have a seat at the table at the EU foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels on 20 January to discuss the issue, but then at the next meeting on 17 February… just won't be there
— Jon Stone (@joncstone) January 7, 2020
Teri Schultz reported that NATO Sec Gen was reluctant to express outright criticism of the US killing of Soleimani, reiterating only that many governments are concerned about Iran’s destabilizing activities.
Asked twice (once by me) whether any allies expressed criticism of the US killing of Qasem #Soleimani, NATO Sec Gen @jensstoltenberg only reiterated that many governments are concerned about Iran's destabilizing activities. pic.twitter.com/q3HuPlS5cU
— Teri Schultz (@terischultz) January 6, 2020
Perhaps he found it difficult to put into words.
As Berlaymonster joked, perhaps the European Commission had their own problems in that regard:
European Commission statement on the US/Iran situation: pic.twitter.com/wAHIlabfE3
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) January 8, 2020
Elsewhere, Commission president Ursula von der Leyens had no trouble expressing herself on her first official visit to the UK.
But what caught most attention was her mode of transport. Nikolaj Nielsen explained, she took a PLANE to Britain.
Von der Leyen is flying to the UK tomorrow, leading by example on her European Green Deal.
— Nikolaj Nielsen (@NikolajNielsen) January 7, 2020
Yes that’s the same Ursula von der Leyen who promoted the European Green Deal and vowed to cut carbon emissions.
Ben Utzer pointed out Brussels to London is really not worth a flight.
— Ben Utzer (@utzer) January 7, 2020
And James Crisp imagined Greta Thunberg: How dare you!
Disappointing news from Brussels. Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, will be taking a PLANE to Britain tomorrow.
Yes the very Ursula von der Leyen who has called for a European Green Deal to cut carbon emissions to zero by 2050. pic.twitter.com/LO9mCYTZ9G
— James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) January 7, 2020
In Britain, von der Leyen and Boris Johnson compared memories about their respective childhoods in Uccle in Brussels, and a teacher they had in common.
PM Johnson: "We were in school together"
President von der Leyen: "Same school, but not at the same time"@vonderleyen and @BorisJohnson talked a bit about their childhood in Uccle (Belgium) ahead of their meeting. And about that teacher they had in common… pic.twitter.com/ihyrfMqQVh
— Pablo Pérez (@PabloPerezA) January 8, 2020
They attended the same school at different times.
“I left when you came,” said VDL to Boris. Class! approved Jack Parrock.
— Jack Parrock (@jackeparrock) January 8, 2020
Von der Leyen also gave a speech at the London School of Economics on the future of the EU-UK partnership.
— LSE (@LSEnews) January 3, 2020
Berlaymonster begged people not to jump to Brexit metaphors after the live feed broke down.
The first to make a Brexit metaphor out of von der Leyen's #LSEEurope live feed breaking down gets a smacked botty.
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) January 8, 2020
And Jennifer Rankin summed up the speech: “’I love the UK, let’s be best friends; but Brexit still means Brexit.’”
Ursula von der Leyen speech summed up: 'I love the UK, let's be best friends; but Brexit still means Brexit.'
Key quote: "There is a difference between being a member state and not being a member state when access and ease is concerned."
And this passage pic.twitter.com/Ym55sDGuid
— Jennifer Rankin (@JenniferMerode) January 8, 2020
Bruno Waterfield predicted: “Positivity, sunny mood music and love bombing will be much the orchestrated sheet music for the next 3 months.”
Positivity, sunny mood music and love bombing will be much the orchestrated sheet music for next 3 months.
With all ugly detail, demands and wrangling locked away https://t.co/a7DHlWL7Dy
— Bruno Waterfield (@BrunoBrussels) January 8, 2020
And finally, from Brexit to Megxit… as Prince Harry and Meghan announced their plans to take a step back from their royal duties and spending more time in North America.
Remo Hess quoted the press release
… keep deep and special partnership
… but keep deep and special partnership https://t.co/P6vHNRf7V3
— Remo Hess (@remohess) January 8, 2020
Remind you of anything???
A spoof Prince Charles account imagined a future where the couple’s son Archie, becomes King and elected as US President meaning that the US would once again be ruled by an English King
Royal transition in making America Great (Britain) Again:
– Prince Harry marries an American
– Archie is born
– They all ‘retire’ to USA
– Archie gets dual citizenship
– Archie becomes King
– Archie also elected as US President
– USA is once again ruled by an English King#Megxit pic.twitter.com/uNtUXwxmtw
— Prince Charles (@Charles_HRH) January 8, 2020
The New York Post opted for this front page:
— シ Ed Gex (@EdDJGex) January 9, 2020
And that’s it for this week. Join me again next Friday for more charm, schmarm and a shot in the arm of the Brussels Bubble Twittersphere.