EU Commission president ignored again (VIDEO) — Analysis

Ursula von der Leyen suffered a new awkward moment reminiscent of the ‘Sofagate’ scandal

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen found herself in an uncomfortable situation during the EU’s Africa summit on Friday, when she was ignored by Uganda’s foreign minister.

The embarrassing incident unfolded during a protocol photo op, that von der Leyen attended alongside European Council President Charles Michel and France’s President Emmanuel Macron.

The official greeted Uganda’s top diplomat Abubakhar Jeje Odongo, who seemingly ignored her and strolled past her to shake hands with the two men, footage shows.

Macron and Michel were welcomed by the minister. The two men had a pleasant conversation. Odongo stood again for the protocol photograph, but did not acknowledge von der Leyen. It took an effort from Macron motioning in her direction to draw Odongo’s attention to the Commission president. After a brief exchange with her, he left the photo-op.

The incident immediately invoked comparisons with the infamous ‘Sofagate’ scandal that unfolded in April last year. Back then, von der Leyen visited Turkey alongside Michel, meeting the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Michel and Erdogan were given gilded seats to allow them to talk next to each other during the meeting.

Pressure mounts on Charles Michel in ‘Sofagate’ sexism row as Ursula von der Leyen speaks of ‘hurt’ following Turkey trip snub

This scandal led to accusations of misogyny and sexism against Erdogan. Michel was also criticized for not standing up for von der Leyen. Although officials from the EU and Turkey tried to dismiss the scandal as an error in protocol, von der Leyen stated that the incident affected her deeply. “alone”Both “as a woman and as a European.”

Michel’s apparent lack of action during the new incident drew fresh criticism, with some accusing the official of drawing no lessons from ‘Sofagate’. The awkwardness of the photo op was however much less publicized than the original scandal. No one from the other departments offered comment.

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