Brussels gets worked up over a brand new train, too many jets at Davos the Twitterati complain, and in Jerusalem Macron puts security under strain.
The most exciting news in Brussels on Monday was the arrival of the new overnight train from Vienna.
And the red carpet was rolled out for passengers including MartinSelmayr, Transport Committee Chair Karima Delli, European Parliament Vice-President Othmar Karas, and Former MEP Michel Reimon reported EUObserver’s Eszter Zalan.
— Eszter Zalan (@eszterz) January 20, 2020
Trainspotter extraordinaire, Jon Stone, was also on hand to capture the moment the first direct sleeper train arrived!
Martin Selmayr was on the train, what an Easter egg pic.twitter.com/obsteFYHuv
— Jon Stone (@joncstone) January 20, 2020
Spoof account Martini Seltzermayr, joked that “Comrade Selmayr” had returned from exile in a sealed train with fire in his belly!
Comrade Selmayr returns from exile in a sealed train with fire in his belly https://t.co/f2wsfJ8GYi
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) January 20, 2020
James Crisp spotted a certain similarity with one Vladamir Lenin
And Diego Velazquez titled a selection of Selmayr’s photos: The Trans Selmayr Express.
Of course, much was also made of the environmental benefits of rail travel:
Flights from Vienna to Brussels emits 410 kg of CO2, but the train journey only 40 kg CO2, so say Greenpeace
This train left Vienna last night and arrives in Brussels this morning – the first night train in Belgium since 2003
— Greenpeace EU (@GreenpeaceEU) January 20, 2020
Supposedly also taking note of the climate crisis this week were the great and good at Davos.
However, as is now traditional, half of Twitter including Mark Simone pointed out the hypocrisy of “Hundreds of private jets sit on the runway at Davos as the world’s globalist elites, discuss climate change.”
— MARK SIMONE (@MarkSimoneNY) January 22, 2020
Plus ça change…
Von der Leyen was there… focussing on the positive: “Davos is the place where conflicts are averted, business is started, disputes are finished.” Where bright people come together to shape a better future.
Davos is the place where conflicts are averted, business is started, disputes are finished.
Thank you to @wef's Klaus Schwab for bringing together bright people and for his vision on how to shape a better future for🇪🇺& the🌍
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) January 20, 2020
James Crisp wasn’t alone in finding VDL’s speech nauseating in the extreme. “Pass the sick bag and bring back Juncker who wouldn’t be seen dead at this goon convention.”
VDL's Davos speech was nauseating in the extreme. Dripping with self congratulation. Pass the sick bag and bring back Juncker who wouldn't be seen dead as this goon convention.
— James Crisp (@JamesCrisp6) January 20, 2020
Michael Mann nailed it when he pointed out that the Davos opening saw a thoughtful speech by a visionary leader and a thoughtless, self-serving rant by a petulant child. The former was Greta Thunberg. The latter was Donald Trump.
At the opening of the @WEF in Davos, we saw a thoughtful speech by a visionary leader and a thoughtless, self-serving rant by a petulant child.
The former was @GretaThunberg. The latter was @realDonaldTrump
— Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) January 21, 2020
And of course it wouldn’t be Davos if there wasn’t a bit of espionage on the sidelines: This year police at the Swiss resort suspect a couple of plumbers of being Russian spies.
Finally this week, leaders of almost 50 countries gathered in Jerusalem to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz on #HolocaustMemorialDay.
Including all three EU leaders, Council President Charles Michel, and
Parliament President David Sassoli joined von der Leyen
All three 🇪🇺 leaders, @EUCouncil President Charles Michel, @EU_Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and @EUparliament President David Sassoli will all attend the #WorldHolocaustForum 2020 in #Jerusalem today #HolocaustMemorialDay #Antisemitism https://t.co/vuG0m11ss8
— Johannes Börmann (@JohannesBormann) January 23, 2020
Britain’s Prince Charles was also in attendance along with…
chiefrabbi : As HRH The Prince of Wales receives a Chanukia as a gift from the Israel Museum, The Chief Rabbi explains its significance and symbolism#HolocaustMemorialDay ClarenceHouse pic.twitter.com/UZnRpA8Ufx (via Twitter https://t.co/BVutS3PZ5u) pic.twitter.com/k9Yi6Z14Pt
— RenettaJ (@RenettaJonline) January 23, 2020
…Vladimir Putin, US Vice President Mike Pence and Emmanuel Macron.
Pence, Putin, Macron and more now in Israel for World Holocaust Forum. The event comes amid deepening ignorance around the Holocaust and rising anti-semitism https://t.co/E3a7eDczn2
— Ivan Levingston (@IvanLevingston) January 23, 2020
Surprisingly, of the three, Macron was the one that turned up the security heat by shouting at Israeli police during a visit to the Church of Saint Anne in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Social media footage shows Macron telling telling police to get out of the French- owned church.
Emmanuel Macron has been filmed shouting at Israeli security guards and telling them to "go out" during his visit to a church in Jerusalem, where it is considered a provocation by France if Israeli police enter the premises.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 23, 2020
Ava Djamshidi said it reminded her of Chirac in 1996.
— Ava Djamshidi (@AvaDjamshidi) January 22, 2020
And Sophie Pedder said: “It sounds as if he’s trying to out-Chirac Chirac.”
It sounds as if he's trying to out-Chirac Chirac. Macron doesn't usually speak English with an accent that thick https://t.co/edEha6TimU
— Sophie Pedder (@PedderSophie) January 22, 2020
While Dave Keating asked “isn’t it a little weird that France owns a church in Jerusalem?”
Aside from what this says about a common complaint from French people that they face hostility in Israel, it's also worth pointing out – isn't it a little weird that France owns a church in Jerusalem? https://t.co/sEav02q0jb
— Dave Keating (@DaveKeating) January 22, 2020
And that’s for this week, join me again next week for more japes and scrapes in the Brussels Bubble twittersphere.