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EU seating gaffe: European Council President Charles Michel ‘hasn’t

European Council President Charles Michel has said he is not sleeping well at night due to the fact that he feels ashamed about a seating plan event at a meeting today.

The incident happened when Mr Michel took the only chair available beside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a meeting in Ankara.

When the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, happened seated too, she ended up being perplexed and raised a hand in disbelief.

She ended up being relegated to a sofa further away from her equivalents and opposite Turkey’s foreign minister, who is lower than her in the chain of command.

Speaking about the event with German newspaper Handelsblatt, Mr Michel stated he would return and fix the problem if he could.


” I make clear of the fact that I have not slept well during the night given that because the scenes keep replaying in my head,” he said.

In an earlier interview with Belgian broadcaster LN24, he said the event was a “disastrous occurrence” and added: “I deeply regret this circumstance.”

“I can tell you that I have actually rewound [the scene] in my head … I would like so much to rewind, to go back. If I might do it, I would make sure that there is no uncertainty whatsoever,” he stated.

The awkward scene was just before a three-hour conference with Mr Erdogan, where one of the subjects of discussion was ladies’s rights following Turkey’s withdrawal from a convention on gender-based violence.

In a news conference after the conference, neither Ms Von der Leyer nor Mr Michel pointed out the occurrence.

An EU spokesperson said the president needs to have been seated in precisely the exact same manner as the president of the council and the Turkish president however decided to “continue by prioritising substance over procedure”.

“We will be making the appropriate contacts to ensure this doesn’t happen once again in future,” they included.

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