Tweets of the Week: von der Leyen gets confirmed, Brexit MEPs get fussy, Selmayr steps down

This week, nomination has MEPs at each others’ throats; though Von de Leyen’s speech in Parliament hits all the right notes; but she only squeezes by with a minuscule nine votes.

This week it was all eyes on Strasbourg… again.

In, what the European Parliament’s Twitter account charitably called “the highlight of the plenary session,” MEPs assessed Commission President nominee Ursula Von der Leyen.

Predictably, Brexit Party MEPs were splenetic. Martin Daubney thought it was absurd that there was only one candidate. 

And colourfully said her speech went down like “a cup of cold sick.”


While Brexiteers are predictably, always outraged, MEPs to the far left of the Parliament in the GUE group were also fed up: This is not democracy they said, describing the nomination as a “stitch-up”

But Von der Leyen was determined, announcing that she would step down from the German Defence ministry come what may.

Unfortunately, pointed out Markus Becker, she confused the European Council — heads of states and governments — with the Council of the EU (the one with the ministers) in her farewell message.

Jack Parrock said, “cut her some slack, I mixed them up a ton in my first few months. Oh wait…she wants to be commission president…”

To quote Beatriz Rios: “Awkward!”

On Tuesday morning, VDL gave her speech to the assembled MEPs, and, this will shock exactly no one, the reviews were mixed.

Brexit MEP – yes another one – Henrik Overgaard Nielsen said her whole speech was about more union, “we need to get out NOW.”

Ryan Heath however said that was Von der Leyen at her best; she is very good at working an audience. 

By early evening it looked clear who was going to back her in the vote and who was not.\

Most MEPs from @RenewEurope and the S&Ds looked set to approve her.

Margrethe Vestager, the liberals own candidate praised her “strong, warm, balanced speech.”

While the socialists’ Frans Timmermans said it was “good to see” that many of her promises were part of his own programme.

The Greens’ Ska Keller wanted more than “nice words” however. Asking “how exactly is she planning to put the words into action? Concrete proposals would have been good.”

In the end Ursual Von der Leyen was elected with a wafer thin 383 votes in favour, just nine to spare, one of the narrowest confirmation votes for a Commission President in the history of the European Parliament.

Nigel Farage was suitably unimpressed: “Power but no legitimacy,” he tweeted.

Elsewhere congratulations flooded in:

Even the European Greens, who despite voting against her nomination, congratulated the first female President of the European Commission, and said they look forward to working with her.

Dave Keating reckons he knows the real reason she squeaked in: Von Der Leyen offered the head of the ‘most powerful man in the Berlaymont’ Sec Gen Martin Selmayr on a platter to the Parliament. MEPs have had knives out for him since his controversial appointment.

Parody account Martini Seltzermayr summed it up: Apparently the European Parliament is either a rubber-stamping patsy or the EU is in chaos. No doubt the British press will tell us which.

But we’ll give the final word for the most overwrought pun of the week to Berlaymonster who surmised “Von der Leyen sleeps tonight.”

Brace yourself Brussels, it’s going to be a long 5 years!

That’s it for another season of EU Tweets of the Week. We’re back in September, so remember to subscribe so you get an email to remind you to tune in again every Friday for the best mocking, shocking and rocking lampoonery and tomfoolery in the Brussels Bubble Twittersphere.


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