Jean-Claude Juncker, the outgoing President of the European Commission, at his interview on Thursday morning at Euronews, weighed in the row over his past chief spokesperson’s new Vice-president portfolio “Protecting our European Way of Life” which President-elect Ursula von der Leyen suggested on Monday’s EU executive reveal.
“A European Way of Life is putting together our main talents and energies, and included in that room is the fact that you have to respect the others, independently from their colour and independently from their initial home State. Knowing Margaritis [Schinas] well because I was in daily contact with him, I know that the title is not corresponding to his own values. And I think that this will have to be changed,” Juncker told Euronews.
Juncker’s comments come as president-elect of thee European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen came under intensifying pressure to drop the controversial title for the Greek Vice-president, after MEPs threatened to escalate the row in late-September hearings of Commissioners-designate in the European Parliament.
It was on Wednesday afternoon when the European Parliament’s conference of presidents took the decision to address von Der Leyen on a letter, asking her to withdraw the Vice-president’s job description title. The European Parliament president, David Sassoli, told journalists in Brussels on Thursday that von der Leyen is invited to join the Conference of Presidents in Strasbourg next week on 19 September to discuss the “comments on certain portfolios and names,” before hearings are to begin.