Happy September it’s good to be back, except for Big Phil, ‘cause he got the sack, and Angela Merkel condemns novichok attack.
Rentree is in full swing … albeit with a slight difference this year.
As Fabienne Keller pointed out “It’s clear and simple: wearing a mask considerably reduces the risk of transmission of COVID19.
C’est simple et clair : porter le masque réduit considérablement le risque de transmission du #COVID19. En cette rentrée, nous avons chacun un devoir de responsabilité en appliquant les gestes barrières, pour protéger notre entourage et en particulier les plus fragiles. pic.twitter.com/UMIrdRHmSD
— Fabienne Keller (@fabienne_keller) September 1, 2020
Pity it can’t do anything about a bursting inbox…
Check out Alessandro Gropelli’s 30,000 emails!
— Alessandro Gropelli (@agropelli) August 17, 2020
At the Commission, President Ursula von der Leyen said she was glad to see her team of commissioners back and getting ready for the intense months ahead.
Discussing fresh ideas for:
-Protecting citizens and economies in #COVID19 times
-Leading green and digital transitions
-Making Europe stronger in the world
Glad to see my team of commissioners back and getting ready for the intense months ahead.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) September 2, 2020
However Peter Mueller pointed out that the commissioners from Bulgaria, Romania and Malta were not there because… COVID.
They obviously don’t want to do a “Phil Hogan”
Die Kommissare aus Bulgarien, Rumänien und Malta fehlten offenbar, weil sie sich – wegen der belgischen #Corona Regeln – selbst in Quarantäne begeben haben. Seit dem #Golfgate von Phil Hogan gilt: Bloss nichts falsch machen! @derspiegel https://t.co/jNXtj12DX1
— Peter Mueller (@PeterMueller9) September 2, 2020
Ah yes, the story of the summer could only be #Golfgate.
Although as Markus Preiss pointed out, it’s a bit rich that Hogan had to go because he didn’t comply with COVID lockdown rules, while the EU Parliament is seriously considering sending 700 MEPs plus assistants, staff and journalists from Brussels to Strasbourg!
EU-Kommissar Hogan muss gehen, weil er #Corona-Regeln nicht einhält. Das EU-Parlament aber überlegt wohl doch ersthaft, 700 Abgeordnete plus Assistenten, Personal, Journalisten aus dem Risikogebiet Brüssel nach Straßburg zu schicken, um dort mal wieder den Plenarsaal anzuwerfen🤔
— Markus Preiß (@markuspreiss) September 2, 2020
But Jorge Valero reported that the European Parliament is warning journalists that “due to the quickly changing situation” the mid-September plenary session may not take place in Strasbourg and there’s a 50-50 chance VDL’s 1st ‘state of the EU’ speech will be in Brussels.
European Parliament is warning journalists that "due to the quickly changing situation", plenary session in mid-September may not take place in Strasbourg. I've been told that there's a 50%-50% chance that @vonderleyen's 1st 'state of the EU' speech on 16 sept will be in Brussels
— Jorge Valero (@europressos) September 2, 2020
But back to Big Phil:
New account, Le Chou, snarked: EU Commission warns kids: if you say Phil Hogan’s name three times in the mirror he will appear.
EU Commission Warns Kids: If You Say Phil Hogan’s Name Three Times In The Mirror He Will Appear pic.twitter.com/jIb9LhvWwd
— Le Chou (@LeChouNews) September 2, 2020
Ever dependable, Martini Seltzermayr held a poll asking who would be the next trade commissioner:
Phil Hogan with a moustache
idk, Dombrovskis maybe? or
A bag of soybeans
POLL: the next EU commissioner for trade will be
— Martini Seltzermayr (@mseltzermayr) August 27, 2020
The winner of course was Number three.
And as Dombrovskis takes care of trade, the frontrunners to replace Hogan as Ireland’s representative are current Foreign Affairs minister, Simon Coveney, and MEPs Mairead McGuinness and Frances Fitzgerald.
Front runners to succeed to @PhilHoganEU on EU Commission
Coveney is thought to be front runner and suggestions Irish government will only nominate him…
— Darren McCaffrey (@DarrenEuronews) August 31, 2020
However Berlaymonster reckoned the ballsy move would be for the Irish to poach Tony Abbott to replace Hogan.
Ballsy move would be for the Irish to poach Tony Abbott to replace Hogan…
— Berlaymonster (@Berlaymonster) August 26, 2020
Finally this week, the German government confirmed that Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny was poisoned with nerve agent.
Merkel says Navalny’s poisoning is “a crime” that “raises questions only the Russian Government can and must answer.”
German Gov confirmed that Russian opposition figure was poisoned with nerve agent. He is in German hospital pic.twitter.com/77xQ31RmqJ
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) September 2, 2020
Patrick Donahue said they were forceful words (for her). “The intent was to silence him,” she continued. “I condemn this to the greatest possible extent.”
#Merkel delivering some forceful word (for her) to the Kremlin: “It’s clear that Alexey #Navalny is the victim of a crime. The intent was to silence him. I condemn this in the name of the whole government to the greatest possible extent.” pic.twitter.com/O5S8ZFsnA6
— Patrick Donahue (@patrickjdo) September 2, 2020
Nicolas Veron also praised Merkel’s leadership.
Merkel taking a lot of leadership here. https://t.co/Iyf4GZbpcp
— Nicolas Veron (@nicolas_veron) September 2, 2020
Council President Charles Michel also condemned the poisoning “in the strongest possible terms.”
“Russia must fully investigate and justice must be served.”
I condemn in the strongest possible terms the attempt to silence opposition leader #Navalny with a military grade nerve agent.
Russia must fully investigate and justice must be served. pic.twitter.com/DHd4YoFYrC
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) September 2, 2020
And VDL tweeted that it was “a despicable and cowardly act – once again.”
I was informed by Chancellor Merkel that Russian opposition leader Navalny was attacked with a nerve agent, in his own country. This is a despicable and cowardly act – once again. Perpetrators need to be brought to justice.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) September 2, 2020
I have the feeling that a lot of calculated thought went into this “- once again” said Sam Morgan.
I have the feeling that a lot of calculated thought went into this “- once again” https://t.co/TvBstcx4vI
— Sam Morgan (@SamJamesMorgan) September 2, 2020
You and me both Sam!
That’s it for this Friday, join me again next week for more snarks and larks in the Brussels bubble Twittersphere.