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Monday, 26 April 2021 - Brussels Revised edition

Conclusions of the European Council meeting of 25 and 26 March 2021 - The outcome of the high level meeting between the EU and Turkey of the 6th of April (continuation of debate)

  Esteban González Pons (PPE). – Madam President, I would like to thank President von der Leyen for her brave speech. It reflects our commitment to gender equality.

What happened in Ankara is very serious. It affects the dignity of our institutions. What President Erdoğan did should not surprise anyone. As Manfred Weber has pointed out, Erdoğan’s Turkey has no place in the European Union. But the most embarrassing moment was Charles Michel’s lack of judgement. He should never have accepted that chair, leaving President von der Leyen on her feet. The result of the institutional zeal of Charles Michel was this terrible example of macho culture: men first.

Let’s be clear. President von der Leyen was left without a chair, not because she is the President of the Commission, but because she is a woman. While it’s true that we are 31 institutions making foreign policy at the same time – 27 governments, the Council, the Commission, the High Representative and sometimes this Parliament too – this is not foreign policy, this is a madhouse.

However, this is not the worst. The worst is that we are going around the world lecturing others about gender equality when the truth is that we have many lessons to learn.

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