VDL the ‘outrageous hypocrite’ – EU boss slammed for Portugal trip despite Covid lecturing
Portugal added to England’s travel quarantine list amid pandemic
The European Commission President and her top team of eurocrats jetted into Portugal today for the country’s launch of its rotating EU presidency. The bloc’s most senior officials decided not to call off her trip despite prime minister Antonio Costa announcing a “stay home” diktat on Wednesday as part of a new nationwide lockdown. She brought along no fewer than eight of her top team of European commissioners, including executive vice-presidents Frans Timmermans and Margreth Vestager.
Ahead of her trip, Mrs von der Leyen called on Europeans to be “very disciplined” and obey the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
She said: “This is serious, we must remain vigilant, we must monitor and we must be very disciplined.”
Romanian MEP Cristian Terhes insisted the top eurocrats could’ve held the same meetings over video conferencing software.
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He said: “It’s an act of outrageous hypocrisy for the College of Commissioners to visit Lisbon for a ceremony and meetings a day after the Portuguese authorities issue a strict stay at home order for the tax-paying citizens.
“Surely the commissioners can Zoom like everybody else?
“A classic example of do as I say, not as I do.
“It’s reminiscent of Animal Farm… the rules don’t apply to those in power who make the rules for others.”
Portugal was forced into new restrictive measures amid soaring cases of the coronavirus, including a worrying new mutant strain that originated in Brazil.
Under the new rules, non-essential businesses were ordered to shut and citizens were told to stay home.
Mr Costa told a news conference: “The rule is clear: stay home.
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“Teleworking is obligatory wherever possible.”
The Portuguese prime minister announced the measures as 10,556 new cases were registered, its highest since the pandemic begun.
And 156 deaths were announced on Wednesday, which was also a new and unwelcome record for the country of 10 million.
Mrs von der Leyen insisted her trip to Lisbon was “essentially and necessary” for the start of the Portuguese EU presidency.
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She told reporters: “As far as our trip to Lisbon is concerned, it is of the utmost importance.
“We are only going with a small group, but it is of enormous importance that we start with Portuguese presidency with close dialogue.”
Similar trips are traditional at the start of a member state’s presidency of the EU, which lasts for six months before being rotated.
Usually the Commission President would fly their entire team of 26 commissioners to the host city for a series of tax-payer funded meetings and parties.
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