Head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen believes that she was left without a chair during a joint visit to Turkey with the head of the European Council, as she is a woman. She said this in a speech to the European Parliament.
“I cannot find any other explanation except that I am a woman,” von der Leyen was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
She recalled that she was the first woman president of the European Commission, and she believes it is necessary to address this status. According to Von der Leyen, much still needs to be done to ensure that women will be treated as equals.
In her speech she linked EU-Turkey relations with respect of women’s rights in Turkey. She also announced her intention to initiate a meeting with all the main EU institutions to discuss a “fair” distribution of positions between men and women.
The awkward situation with the head of the European Commission occurred in early April during a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and her and European Council President Charles Michel. In the published footage of that meeting one could notice that the organizers had provided only two chairs for the negotiators against the background of EU and Turkish flags. Michel took one of them, while Erdogan took the other. Von der Leyen, who was left bewildered, had to sit away from the leaders on the sofa opposite the Turkish foreign minister. According to diplomatic protocol, he occupies a lower rank.
Earlier parliamentarians of different countries and UN representatives discussed the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on the rights of women all over the world. The discussion was held in conference mode at Zoom.