EU State of the Union descends into chaos as von der Leyen sparks verbal spat with MEP

The 2020 State of the Union meeting in the European Union’s Parliament in Brussels was suddenly interrupted as a German MEP cut off Ursula von der Leyen as she replied to questions about her speech. Ms von der Leyen could be seen stopping mid-sentence to turn and face MEP Jörg Meuthen sitting nearby who appeared to have let out a loud comment to her speech. The European Commission President paused a second hearing Mr Meuthen angrily comment in her native German before addressing him directly.

Ms von der Leyen was commenting on the different position the European Union had chosen to adopt when tackling issues like mass migration, insisting the bloc had opted to address the issue legally and seeking to maintain the peace between everyone.

She said: “This makes you angry, this makes him angry because we got him on the point.

“When he sees we are on a different position when that is concerned. And that is democracy. That is democracy.

“He cannot bear with the contradiction that you are preaching hate and we want solutions and we want a constructive approach to migration.”

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She continued: “Therefore this is the right moment for a fresh start on migration. Just a few numbers.

“Every year, about two million people do come to Europe, two million and 140,000 refugees so we should be able to manage that.

“Two million people are coming to Europe because Europe is a wonderful continent that offers a lot of opportunities and this is normality.

“And on top of 143,000 refugees last year, we should be able, we have to be able, to manage that.

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“Therefore we will put forward legislation next week and there will be time to discuss it.”

The European Commission President insisted the coronavirus pandemic provided the EU with the opportunity to “make change happen by design”.

She said: “We have everything we need to make this happen. We have shaken off the old excuses and home comforts that have always held us back. We have the vision, we have the plan, we have the investment.

“It is now time to get to work.

“It is a period of profound anxiety for millions who are concerned about the health of their families, the future of their jobs or simply just getting through until the end of the month.”

She added: “The pandemic – and the uncertainty that goes with it – is not over. And the recovery is still in its early stage.

“So our first priority is to pull each other through this. To be there for those that need it.

“Never before has that enduring promise of protection, stability and opportunity been more important than it is today.

“Allow me to explain why. First, Europe must continue to protect lives and livelihoods.

“This is all the more important in the middle of a pandemic that shows no signs of running out of steam or intensity.

“We know how quickly numbers can spiral out of control. So we must continue to handle this pandemic with extreme care, responsibility and unity.”


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