President of the European Council Charles Michel arrives for an EU Summit on May 31, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)


European Council chief Michel shielded by ‘opportune’ back trouble?


The President of the European Council Charles Michel will dodge a tough plenary debate in the European Parliament.

He is struggling with “acute back problems” and apparently must “rest on doctor’s orders”.

That comes as Michel was expected to suffer a barrage of criticism on January 17 over his recent decision to prematurely resign from office and run as an MEP in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

Given doctor’s orders, he can now evade challenges from angry MEPS as he is suffering from lumbago, causing him to lie low for at least a week.

As a result, the January 17 discussion will be with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who is likely to be grilled over her decision to release up to €10 billion of Cohesion Fund money to Hungary.

Michel’s intended visit to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw on January 18 is also cancelled.

The Council President’s weak backbone has apparently rendered him unable to attend the European Parliament until the week starting February 5, when the next plenary session takes place.

In European circles, Michel is now regarded by critics as “an opportunist“, choosing his personal career development over serving European institutions for the people. Some are so enraged, they are demanding his immediate resignation as President.

Jens Geier, a leading MEP with the German Social Democrats, alleged on X that Michel’s back trouble was in fact an “ego trip” that made it “necessary that he steps down from the office”.

He is not the only one in the European sphere concerned about Michel’s apparent impediments.