European Council President Charles Michel was universally re-elected for a second term by council leaders on Thursday. However, the lack of any opposition gave US President Joe Biden cause to joke while talking with the Council leader.
The unanimous election has not been uncontroversial. Anonymous EU diplomats denounce Michel's style in De Morgen as typically Belgian in that everything is delayed and last minute, leading to long, late night meetings. In the same paper, other critics point to how after a summit in July 2020 in which EU leaders negotiated both a budget and recovery fund, Michel stood on a balcony doing interviews, while then German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte did all the work. Then, there is a chilly relationship with Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, which reached new lows during the "sofagate" incident. The two leaders visited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last April, but only two chairs were available in the reception room. The two men quickly sat down on them, leaving von der Leyen to retreat to a sofa further away.
“I came to congratulate a man who just got re-elected without opposition. I dream of that some day” says @POTUS standing next to @eucopresident Charles Michel who just got reappointed as EU Council President with no one else putting themselves forward.Biden gets Brussels then. pic.twitter.com/Gw96lDvgqS — Jack Parrock (@jackeparrock) March 24, 2022
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