EU and chairs, the precedent of de Gaulle

by time news – La ‘forgotten’ chair for the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, on the occasion of the visit to Ankara, by right, a small space is carved out in the history of diplomacy, or at least of its protocol. The symbolism of the former German minister confined to a side sofa with respect to the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, it is powerful: one can read the lack of cohesion between EU institutions, the decline of post-Merkel Germany, a residue of machismo in international relations or a simple disaster of those responsible for the ceremonial.

The empty one by de Gaulle

After all, the chair has always been an evocative image: in art it can indicate a presence but also an absence, a loss or the hope of a return. In the European construction it has gone down in history the “empty chair” policy adopted in 1965 by Charles de Gaulle: France boycotted all the meetings of the EEC to contest the federalist turn proposed by the Commission to establish an autonomous Community budget and to strengthen the powers of the European Parliament. The crisis ended only the following year with the “Luxembourg compromise” it introduced the right of veto: since then a ‘chair’ is enough to block decisions on security, foreign affairs and taxation.


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