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EU chief compares Ireland’s struggles with Britain to Ukraine conflict – Reuters


UK lawmakers say Ursula von der Leyen’s comments are ‘beyond disgusting’ and ‘a dangerous game’

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen compared Ireland’s struggle against British rule in the 20th century to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as she addressed the Irish parliament in Dublin. His comments angered Tory MPs.

In a speech on Friday – the 50th anniversary of Ireland’s EU membership – von der Leyen said she “I would like to focus on five Irish virtues that will help our union meet our common challenges ahead. First, the Irish passion for freedom. This country knows what it means to fight for the right to exist.

“Today, another European nation is fighting for independence. Of course, Ireland is far from the front line in Ukraine. But you understand better than anyone why this war means so much to all of us.

According to the head of the European Commission, Ukraine is fighting not only for its own future, but also for “freedom itself, for self-reliance, for the rules-based world order.”

His comments did not go unnoticed in Britain, with local media warning that his words could end up complicating talks on the renegotiation of Northern Ireland Protocol post-Brexit trade deals between London and Brussels.


Craig Mackinlay, a Tory MP, told the Telegraph that von der Leyen’s comparison was “more than disgusting” to add: “It looks like UK bashing is alive and well in Brussels.”

Lord Moylan, a member of the House of Lords, tweeted that the EC president was playing “a dangerous game” in making such statements.

Former UK business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg told the outlet that “This is an extraordinary thing to say for Ursula von der Leyen, undiplomatic, reckless and false. It shows that she is not fully aware of the historical circumstances.

It is the second time this week that the EU chief has landed in hot water. On Wednesday, she claimed that at least 100,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in the fighting against Russia. The comment was later removed from the text and video of his speech on the European Commission’s website and social media accounts. Nevertheless, kyiv was angry and claimed that the figure was not correct, while insisting that such “sensitive” data can only be released by the Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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