EU’s Ursula von der Leyen shamed over ‘weak’ leadership – ‘Overwhelmed and absent!’
Austrian newspaper Die Presse blamed the lack of collective resolve to deal with the coronavirus crisis on a lack of decisive authority coming from the centre of the EU, and in particular, Ursula von der Leyen. It suggested the EU Commission head Ms von der Leyen, had a lot to answer for due to the bloc’s current handling of the pandemic, particularly her lack of resolve and unreadiness to get into conflict with certain heads of state. The paper’s greatest criticism was Ms von der Leyen’s “conflict-averse” dealings with the EU members Hungary and Poland.
She has been attacked for letting both countries, “slide into authoritarianism”.
The paper was referring to the Hungarian Emergency Act, with which Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been able to rule indefinitely since late March thanks to suspended elections.
The paper also made reference to the highly controversial change in the right to vote in Poland.
This was a ratification made in the Polish parliament that made it possible to vote for the Polish President by letter on May 10th, despite the coronavirus crisis.
In an article from the Monday edition of Die Presse, the newspaper wrote: “Ursula von der Leyen avoided any conflict at the head of the Commission.
“In doing so, she weakens herself and endangers European integration.
“In the coronavirus crisis, she initially seemed absent.”
The newspaper went on to fire a heavy broadside at Ms von der Leyen’s first 100 days in office.
The paper stated: “When there were horrific scenarios already taking place in hospitals in Italy, in early March, she believed a press conference full of self-praise about her first 100 days in office was appropriate.”
The newspaper went on to scold Ms von der Leyen for her willingness to avoid head-on confrontation.
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The paper wrote: “What does the President think of this?
“All member states have their constitutional problems, nobody is perfect, this is how she has downplayed it so far.
“The mix of looking away, nodding and polishing up the image weakens the President, her office, and ultimately the entire EU.”
But, Ms der Leyen, however, did deliver a clear statement about Hungary in an interview with BILD on Sunday. She said: “We take a particularly close look at Hungary because of critical past experiences.
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“I am ready to act if the restrictions go beyond what is allowed.
“Then there is a risk of infringement proceedings.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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