The German defence minister pledged to stand down from her Berlin job yesterday ahead of a knife-edge vote on her bid to replace Jean-Claude Juncker, but Ms Von der Leyen confused the European Council with the Council of the EU in her resignation statement. While it may seem like a small slip up, the difference between the two institutions is not insignificant. The mix up has been seen as an embarrassing mistake by the woman who is about to be elected to the top of an EU institution.
When declaring her resignation as Germany’s Ministry of Defence, she said: “The Council of the European Union nominated me in early July as a candidate for the presidency of the EU Commission.”
But it was the European Council that nominated Ms von der Leyen, the body of EU heads of state and government.
The Council of the European Union on the other hand, is made up of the relevant specialised ministers of the EU states – which is why it is often referred to as the Council of Ministers, or even just the Council.
The mistake is unlikely to be dismissed as just a careless mistake however, as people had already began to question her knowledge of EU issues.
Even prominent party friends, such as Manfred Weber, have voices suspicions in a small circle that Ms von der Leyen may not have the best grasp of issues outside of defence matters.
Twitter uses have already began to condemn the blip, with several branding her incompetent.
One person wrote: “Incompetence remains incompetence, no matter in which context.
“Von der Leyen is a deeply implausible politician.”
Another user wrote: “The confusion is only additional proof that Mrs. von der Leyen does not have the necessary qualifications for the highest office of the EU.
“If she can be elected tomorrow, it would be a very black day for the EU.”
Defense Department circles said Ms von der Leyen was angry that no one had discovered the mistake – either before sending the letter, or before publishing it on the Ministry of Defense website.
They said the matter would be correctly immediately.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg