Thursday 15 April 2021
EU diplomats are angry
Von der Leyen Makes “Serious Mistakes”
If you are unable to attend an important appointment, it is best to cancel in person. It is clear that Commission Chair Ursula von der Leyen is ignoring these important etiquette on the diplomatic ground and causing the ire of the Ukrainian government.
The team of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made a dangerous diplomatic slip in dealing with Ukraine. Diplomats from European Union countries, who requested anonymity, criticized the fact that Prime Minister Bjorn Seibert had signed in response to an invitation from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Silinsky. She added that when a head of state sends a personal invitation to the chairperson of the commission, it is impolite if she does not respond to it in person. This is a “serious mistake”.
The event attracted special attention because Zelensky’s invitation letter referred to the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence and Seibert canceled von der Leyen’s participation due to a “particularly busy schedule” during the period in question. Critics read this as a possible sign of Germany’s desire to distance the EU Commission from the recently escalating conflict between Ukraine and Russia as much as possible. Celebrations are due to take place in Kiev on August 24th, as it is usually calm in Brussels due to the summer holidays.
A spokesman for the European Union Commission stated that von der Leyen would answer the Ukrainian president personally and that the European Union Commission would be represented “appropriately” at the celebrations. He also stressed, according to his information, that the message from Prime Minister Seibert did not pass through the “usual channels” to Ukraine. German Björn Seibert is interested in strategic and inter-institutional issues of von der Leyen. Previously he worked with Christian Democratic Union politician at the Federal Ministry of Defense in Berlin.