What was not seen on TV at the EPP Congress: good mood, “peaceful” speeches and reluctance towards the head of the European Commission REPORT

The EPP Congress showed not only the mobilization of the popular leaders for the next elections, but also the disinterest of their own members towards their candidate for the European Commission, which was voted by only half of the delegates, in an event that often resembled a place of entertainment .

Ursula von der Leyen received a firm “yes” from only half of the delegates PHOTO Inquam Photos

The celebratory atmosphere of the EPP Congress, the biggest political family in Europe and the favorite to still lead the elections, started from the first day, when delegates were often attentive to what was happening at the food, drink and goods stands promotions of the European People's Party or a popular think tank, not to what was happening on the center stage. In addition to free food and drinks, the popular ones also brought a photo booth, where any participant could take as many pictures as they wanted.

PPE Congress photo booth PHOTO Radu Eremia jpg

If on the first day the central pavilion at Romexpo was always almost full and dynamic, on the second day the political actions went with the brakes pulled. Paradoxically, on this day Ursula von der Leyen was validated to be the EPP candidate for the head of the European Commission for another five years, and numerous heads of state and government were to speak, from Donald Tusk to Klaus Iohannis, but the room was on half empty

Delegates who disappeared

Initially boycotted only by the populists in France, who said they were not voting for her because she was “Macron's candidate”, not the right's, out of the 801 delegates with the right to vote, Ursula von der Leyen was voted in by 400 delegates, in while 89 were “against” and ten votes annulled.

For the rest of the votes, no one from the official team could offer an explanation. The questionable validation of the head of the EC came after a speech in which she tried not to attack any EPP leader, appreciating including Karl Nehammer (Chancellor of Austria), the one blocking Romania's accession to Schengen, for “fighting illegal immigration” and “strengthening the external borders” of the EU. At the EC chief's remark about Nehammer's contribution, a whole group of Austrian journalists burst out laughing, knowing the matches between the Chancellor of Austria and the European Commission.

Iohannis' final word

Klaus Iohannis was the last speaker in the series of heads of state, entering the door at 13.04, after the PNL leaders waited for him outside for about half an hour. He came flanked by Manfred Weber (the head of the PPE), Nicolae Ciucă, Siegfried Mureșan, Rareș Bogdan and Lucian Bode.

PHOTO Radu Eremia

PHOTO Radu Eremia

After 9 minutes of entering the hall, he was given the floor, spoke for 16 minutes, took group photos, and then left. Like other EPP leaders, he emphasized the extremist and populist danger from the upcoming European elections, and this time, although Karl Nehammer was a few meters away from him, he did not mention a single word about the expectations regarding the full entry into Schengen, the theme also avoided by the head of the European Commission. Moreover, not even in the conclusion of the face-to-face meeting between Iohannis and Nehammer was any information regarding the unlocking of Schengen by land this year advanced.