EU rebellion: Nations move to thwart VDL 'powergrab' as she plots to conceal vaccine farce


A host of EU nations are increasingly furious with the European Commission President for attempting to exploit the row in order to rebuild her tarnished reputation. Insiders say the bloc’s leaders are preparing a challenge against the top eurocrat’s latest bid to seize more powers away from member states. Mrs von der Leyen has been at the centre of an institutional tussle since she was left with no chair at a meeting last week with EU compatriot Charles Michel and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

EU diplomats have accused the Commission chief of triggering a briefing war with her colleague to detract from her role in the bloc’s snail-paced vaccination rollout.

One source told Express.co.uk: “Ursula von der Leyen has simply weaponised Sofa gate to detract from her poor performance on vaccines and to recalibrate her own position.

“The member states see her demands increasingly as nothing more than an ordinary power grab and attempt to renegotiate her standing.”

Under EU rules, European Council President Mr Michel is meant to represent the bloc as its most senior official on overseas trips.

But Mrs von der Leyen has been pushing for the rulebook to be rewritten to give her an equal rank to her colleague.

It is now expected that senior EU leaders will personally intervene in the row because it is damaging the bloc’s reputation on the world stage.

An EU diplomat said: “She would be better advised to focus on the resolution of the health crisis and her role in it instead of waging a phoney war that literally no one outside Brussels will understand.”

If Mrs von der Leyen refuses to back down in the Sofa gate row, she could be summoned to a summit of European leaders to explain her actions.

She has already fallen out of favour with a number of European capitals because of her role in the EU’s joint buy-up of Covid jabs.

Many blame her for their sluggish rollout but will not move to oust her because she is easy to manage as a “lame duck president”.

The initial row was sparked when Mrs von der Leyen was left without a chair when her male peers grabbed the only two available – before they discussed women’s rights.

MUST READ: Brexit crossroads: ‘Choice is to be made here’ in UK-EU relationship

Her spokesman said afterwards that Turkey had breached protocol by failing to offer her a chair.

So far, the EU has only managed to roll out just under 70 million vaccinations – at a rate of 21.86 per 100 people.

In comparison, some 32.2 million people have been given a first dose in Britain, with another 7.7 million fully vaccinated after a second shot.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.