A politically weak Charles Michel has left the "fanatic" and "ambitious" Ursula von der Leyen to run Brussels, a conservative MEP has claimed. (Peter Caddle/Brussels Signal)

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‘EU Council chief’s weakness leaves fanatic EC President to run Brussels,’ MEP claims


A “politically weak” European Council President Charles Michel has left the “fanatic” and “ambitious” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to run Brussels, a Conservative MEP has claimed.

Dutch European Conservative and Reformist (ECR) group MEP Michiel Hoogeveen said it should be Michel, whom many regard as a pre-eminent figure in the European Union.

He added that, unfortunately in his eyes, the EC Council chief’s “weak political persona” has let Von der Leyen “drift to the forefront”.

“I think [Michel] has the most important position in the European Union but he has been quite … invisible,” the Dutch politician told Brussels Signal‘s Head of News Justin Stares on February 1.

Hoogeveen went on to accuse Michel of doing a “very poor” job in his role, saying that the council chief has “failed to properly represent” Member States at the European level.

He added this failure on Michel’s part had left a “power vacuum in Brussels”, which Von der Leyen has now taken advantage of.

Michel “hasn’t represented the Member States at all, so that position was taken over by a very fanatic and ambitious Ursula Von der Leyen”, Hoogeveen said.

He added that he felt the situation should be “the other way around” and that the importance of the European Commission President should be watered down.

“Ms Von der Leyen should be back in her bureaucratic office – because she’s more or less the head of a secretariat,” Hoogeveen stated.

He added that efforts should be undertaken by Conservatives to “replace” Von der Leyen with an alternative.

“If we are able to have a right-wing majority in the European Parliament, there should be some changes in office.”