Angela Merkel avoids handshake with Ursula von der Leyen
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The spokesman for the right-wing AFD party, Dr. Jörg Meuthen has demanded answers why the Commission President took a short-haul flight just days after the COP26 summit. The Commission President flew 47 kilometres (29miles) from Vienna to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava despite a train taking just 45 minutes. Indeed, the AfD spokesman claimed Ms von der Leyen should have held her meetings and conference calls online if she was serious about tackling climate change.
He said: “Von der Leyen and her employees have in all seriousness expressed concerns about Corona to justify the short-haul flight of 19 minutes with a private jet instead of using a scheduled flight or trains.
“The Commission President and her staff visited seven countries in two days in mid-June to do PR on their own behalf, according to a media report.
“Von der Leyen probably also praised her European Green Deal, according to which Europe should be the first continent to become ‘climate neutral’ by 2050.
“The EU Commission wants to raise at least one trillion euros in investments for the fight against the climate crisis by 2030, that is around 100 billion euros per year.
“A typical case of EU presumption: EU citizens are paying ever larger sums in taxes for their own incapacitation, deprivation of rights and expropriation.
“And von der Leyen and her team preach to common EU citizens about foregoing things – about not flying short distances, for example.
“But von der Leyen and her employees themselves fly the shortest routes in their private jet at taxpayers’ expense.
“She should have held her PR appointments via video conferences if she was serious about her absurd so-called ‘European Green Deal’ to avert the supposed climate apocalypse.”
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Analysis from The Daily Telegraph also revealed the Commission President used air taxis for 18 out of her 34 official trips since taking up her role in December 2019.
Ms von der Leyen also took private jets for short trips from Brussels to London for Brexit talks.
The Commissioner also took two chartered private planes for a 31-minute flight to Strasbourg for meetings in the EU Parliament.
In response, the EU Commission claimed Ms von der Leyen flew to Glasgow via a plane powered by biofuel.
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A spokeswoman added: “An air taxi is only used when necessary, to enable presence at meetings in various places on a very packed schedule.”
Due to the levels of emission from private plains, Greenpeace claimed officials must look to change their travel habits.
They said: “Many flights, particularly in Europe, could be easily replaced by train journeys, a readily available and climate-friendly alternative.
“We must completely change the way we move, and encourage and enable travel that prioritises sustainability, and the future of humanity.”
Under EU rules, officials are allowed to use so-called air taxis when there are no commercial alternatives.
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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