The incident occurred in the context of the EU-AU Summit, at a time when Ugandan Foreign Minister ignored the Chairperson of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to salute only the male representatives present, given the inaction of the President of the Republic of Uganda. European Council, Charles Michel. This is not the first time that a senior official who is the protagonist has been in a similar situation.
His attitude does not preclude rudeness. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, (the body that holds the bloc’s executive power) was insolent as she greeted the heads of delegations that will participate in the bloc’s summit with the African Union.
One of the participants, Ugandan Foreign Minister Gigi Odongo, walked in front of the senior official and greeted her with an imperceptible gesture. Immediately, he exchanged handshakes with the President of the European Council Charles Michel, and then immediately with the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, who holds the temporary presidency of the European Union.
Realizing the situation, Macron invited Odongo to greet von der Leyen, with whom the Ugandan diplomatic chief exchanged a few words, but at no time shook hands with him.
During the incident, the President of the European Council was confined to remaining silent, without ever drawing the attention of the Ugandan Foreign Minister. The situation sparked a wave of criticism on the networks.
“sofagate”, the impudence that preceded Von der Leyen
A year ago, the head of the commission faced another embarrassing moment while visiting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the room where von der Leyen and Michel were received, only two chairs were created, which were occupied by the host and the President of the European Council.
Standing, the chairperson was forced to sit on a sofa far from the center of the meeting, although her presence was central to the meeting. His position was similar to that of the Turkish foreign minister, a position lower than the pyramid held by von der Leyen.
Criticism of the Turkish protocol spread, the episode became known as “sofagate” and the hashtag #GiveHerASeat appeared on the networks.
Even on that occasion, her spokesperson, Eric Mammer, noted that the first woman in the position “expects the institution she represents to be treated with the required protocol, which is why she has asked her team to take whatever is appropriate.” Communications to ensure that such an incident does not occur in the future.
In a later interview, the official admitted that she felt “hurt and lonely as a woman.” At the time, Michel did not respond to the demand for recognition of the community leader, which cost him numerous criticisms. Now, months after what happened, he hasn’t taken any action either.
with local media
“Reader. Beer practitioner. Web expert. Subtly charming travel geek. Friendly music specialist.”