European Western Balkans

European Ombudsman: The appearance of the President of the EC in the promotional video of the HDZ is extremely controversial

Ursula von der Leyen; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BRUSSELS – The appearance of the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen in the promotional pre-election video of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) is extremely controversial and the concern about that is completely grounded, European Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly said yesterday, FoNet reports.

She pointed out that she would forward the objection to the act of the President of the Commission, which was sent by the non-governmental organization The Good Lobby and another association, to the European Commission and the European Parliament, reports Politico.

Von der Leyen and the Vice-President of the European Commission, Dubravka Šuica, appeared in the pre-election video of the HDZ, which was broadcast before the parliamentary elections in Croatia, and supported the Prime Minister Andrej Plenković.

The complaint sent by the The Good Lobby organization states that Von der Leyen violated the EC code, which strictly prohibits any interference in national policies, except in exceptional circumstances, when it is allowed. What is worse, it is pointed out, the whole system is in question, because it is foreseen that the President of the European Commission will monitor and ensure compliance with the code.

“Your concern is well-founded. It is unclear to whom the EC president should announce that she/he will run in an election campaign in a country. It may be necessary to make a special code of conduct just for the president,” O’Reilly said in a letter addressed to the organization.

She stated that the EC acknowledged that Von der Leyen’s participation in the promotional video was a mistake and promised that an appropriate procedure would be carried out, so that such mistakes would not be repeated.

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