Tweets of the Week: Sofa-gate, Northern Ireland, Eurostar

In Ankara VDL is denied a chair, Northern Ireland violence is hard to bear and Eurostar’s failing and the Brits don’t care.

This episode is supported by the European Cancer Patient Coalition, more about them later on.

On Tuesday European Council President Charles Michel tweeted to the world:

In Ankara, ready with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to start discussions with 

Turkish President Erdogan on the future of EU-Turkey relations.

Sustained de-escalation is needed to build a more constructive agenda.

So, ermmm, that’s aged well!

You couldn’t really make up what happened next.

As Le Chou reported: 2 Seats, 3 Presidents: Michel, Von Der Leyen and Erdogan In Tense Stand-Off In Ankara.

Mr Chou! Aren’t you supposed to be doing satirical news?? Don’t throw us off with this sort of accurate reporting.


Efi Koutsokosta pointed out that Turkey’s President showing disrespect for a female leader for political gains is no surprise.  But EU leadership getting embarrassingly outplayed by an autocrat regime, that’s why Michel’s non-reaction is much more annoying.

Diplomatic seating arrangements are not chance or ‘an accident’, they’re an exertion of power. Failure to provide an equal seat to von der Leyen is a synonym for Erdogan’s game towards Brussels & state of women’s rights in Turkey, pointed out Alexandra Brzozowski.

EU to convene a Conference on the Furniture of Europe snarked American EU Dude.

It is not that ‘Charles Michel should have offered his chair to vdl’. Come on. It’s not about stale chivalry. It is politics and image. And diplomacy. Stay there standing up until another chair is in the room. Make THEM feel uncomfortable in front of the cameras urged Pablo Perez.

Henceforth to avoid confusion between EU institutional presidents, Charles Michel will be known as ‘Chairman.’ quipped Berlaymonster.

This episode is supported by the European Cancer Patient Coalition who are launching a joint letter signed by 292 stakeholders showing the cancer community’s willingness to support governments in their effort to help cancer patients globally! Find out more by following the #COVID19andCancer 

In more worrying news, violence in Northern Ireland has been escalating in recent weeks.


Darren McCaffrey shared these images of another bus set on fire on the Shankill Road in Belfast

A shocked Jennifer Cassidy, tweeted, these are pictures from TODAY in Northern Ireland. Not 1971. Not 1981. Not 1991. But 2021. Where is the front page coverage in mainland UK? She asked. Because it seems the media have taken the view: what happens in Northern Ireland, stays in Northern Ireland.

British PM Boris Johnson did eventually say that he was deeply concerned by the scenes of violence in Northern Ireland.

I wish there had been some sort of clue that introducing a border in the Irish Sea could destabilise the peace process in Northern Ireland, said Marc Davenant.

David Schneider went further: It’s not the Protocol that’s to blame for the disturbances and tension in Northern Ireland. It’s Brexit.

Simon Ubsdell said, “England voted for this. It was warned. It didn’t care. It still does not. It never will.”

Matthias Eberl reminded us that in the 5 years since the EU referendum, nobody has ever come up with a workable plan on how to ‘take back control’ of the UK’s borders and leave single market and customs union while respecting the Good Friday Agreement and ensuring frictionless trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I could say “told you so”, but that honestly makes no one feel any better about this. 


And finally this week another sad fallout from Brexit: The Eurostar.

Mujtaba Rahman described it as a big symbolic casualty – & metaphor – for Brexit 

Holger Hestermeyer explained the problem. Eurostar is a UK company with HQ in London, but 55% owned by SNCF. Once this mix was a sign of trust and friendship. Now it means that the UK won’t assist a French majority-owned company while France won’t assist a UK company.

Or, as leave EU put it:

Absolutely right! Any minister that proposes British taxpayers bailing out a company majority owned by the French state before Macron sticks his hand in his own pocket should be sacked on the spot!

Jon Worth wondered if a name change might be what it takes to save Eurostar…

But there is some good train news this week. A new night train start-up promises its first route will be Brussels-Amsterdam-Berlin-Prague, starting in mid 2022.

Hurrah! Who needs London!?

Join me again next week for more news that’s snarky and the usual malarky.

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