Home Europe Macron ‘loved’ my tweet slagging off von der Leyen, says French commissioner

Macron ‘loved’ my tweet slagging off von der Leyen, says French commissioner

by editor

France’s EU Commissioner Thierry Breton said French President Emmanuel Macron actually “loved” his social media swipe at European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Breton’s dig at the Commission chief, who is also his boss, stirred criticism in Brussels and Paris when he published it on March 7 — but the European internal market commissioner is defiant.

“You should know that I leave nothing to chance, I wait for the right moment,” Breton told Libération, which published a long profile about him on Monday. 

Breton said that von der Leyen, in a “totally unprecedented move,” had breached the neutrality of her position as European Commission president by announcing she was a candidate to remain in the Commission’s top job.

He added that Macron “loved” his public attack on the Commission’s chief. At the time, one French official told POLITICO’s Brussels Playbook that the social media jibe made Macron “extremely angry.”

Breton — a supporter of Macron’s centrist Renaissance party — publicly pointed to what he said was lackluster support received by von der Leyen from her own European People’s Party group.

“Despite her qualities, Ursula von der Leyen has a minority within her party,” Breton wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “The [EPP] seems not to believe in its own candidate,” he added, reposting an item that made it seem as if von der Leyen had less than 50 percent of support from party delegates.

However, von der Leyen was the only name on the EPP’s ballot that day to be its lead candidate and received 400 votes in favor, with 89 against — out of a total 499 votes. 

The post was widely criticized within Macron’s Renaissance party and also led to an internal memo circulating in the Commission to remind commissioners not to undermine the institution which employs them.

Before commenting during the interview on the storm created by his tweet, Breton asked his communication adviser: “Am I allowed to say that?”

Macron’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Breton’s latest remarks.

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