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21 Feb, 2022 17:57

EU Commission head not bothered by supposed snub – spokesperson

Uganda’s top diplomat seemingly ignored Ursula von der Leyen walking past her to shake hands with two men
EU Commission head not bothered by supposed snub – spokesperson

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is unconcerned after she was seemingly snubbed by the Ugandan foreign minister, a commission chief spokesman announced on Monday. The incident happened during a stage photo opportunity at the EU-Africa summit on Friday. Abubakhar Jeje Odongo appeared to nod at von der Leyen before going to shake hands with EU Council president Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

After greeting the two men, Odongo was pointed in the direction of von der Leyen by Macron. Odongo only then briefly addressed the commission president. 

Speaking on Monday, Eric Mamer said von der Leyen was more concerned about events in eastern Ukraine and ongoing diplomatic efforts with Russia.

“Who said that there was an incident? Did you hear the European Commission say that there was an incident? Absolutely not,” Mamer said.

“Please, leave the European Commission president out of this story … Frankly, I think we should avoid making a storm in a teacup,” he added. 

The incident prompted comparisons with the infamous ‘Sofagate’ scandal, which occurred in April 2021. Von der Leyen had been left without a chair when she visited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alongside Michel. 

Erdogan and Michel sat in gilded chairs opposite one another while von der Leyen had to resort to a sofa some distance from the action.