European Fee chief Ursula von der Leyen discovered herself relegated to couch when Mr Michel jumped in the one chair out there subsequent to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at talks in Ankara. Ms von der Leyen expressed shock and raised a hand in disbelief within the weird episode which was caught on digital camera.
Mr Michel has now spoken of his embarrassment.
He mentioned: “I make no secret of the truth that I have not slept nicely at evening since as a result of the scenes hold replaying in my head.
“If it have been potential I might return and repair it.”
Footage from their assembly on Tuesday confirmed the primary feminine head of the EU government, the one lady within the talks, gesturing in disbelief and uttering a stunned sigh as Mr Erdogan and Mr Michel took the 2 centre-stage seats ready, relegating her to an adjoining couch.
Her spokesman Eric Mamer mentioned: “The president of the Fee was clearly stunned.
“She ought to have been seated in precisely the identical method because the president of the European Council and the Turkish president.”
In a Fb put up on the next day, Mr Michel mentioned the incident was “regrettable” and attributable to “Turkish authorities’s strict interpretation of protocol guidelines.”
However he mentioned he determined in opposition to a public confrontation.
Whereas the Fee conveyed Ms von der Leyen’s irritation, an EU official who declined to be named mentioned doing so may need provoked a “protocol and political incident.”
He mentioned: “Turkey meant no disrespect.
“It prolonged a really courteous welcome to each presidents and strictly adhered to worldwide protocol.”
He mentioned: “Turkey is a deep-rooted state, it’s not the primary time it hosts a visitor. The protocol adopted for conferences in Turkey is throughout the worldwide protocol framework. The identical was finished right here too.
“The protocol on the presidency met the calls for of the EU aspect.
“In different phrases, the seating association was designed to fulfill their calls for and strategies.”
Ties between Brussels and Ankara have been strained since a failed coup in 2016 prompted a crackdown in Turkey that has led to the arrests of hundreds.
A maritime row between Turkey and Greece stoked tensions final 12 months and the EU threatened sanctions on Ankara, however they’re now testing a cautious thawing of relations.