A plenary session of the European Parliament is currently happening in Strasbourg, France. On Tuesday, Members of the European Parliament had the chance to pose questions to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, on strengthening transatlantic ties in a complex multilateral world. Matjaž Nemec, a Slovenian MP from the ranks of the Social Democrats party (Socialni demokrati – SD), also asked a question, but it would have been better if he had not, as he became a laughingstock and was ridiculed in front of the entire European Parliament, when he was scolded by Borrell.
Matjaž Nemec was not exactly known for his insightful debates in the National Assembly. This time, however, he decided to try out his debating skills in the European Parliament but was scolded by Josep Borell. The latter asked Nemec why he was asking things that were not even on the agenda. He must have learned that lesson in the Slovenian Parliament.
“Thank you, High Representative, my question will be about the remarkable progress of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the rapprochement with the European Union,” Nemec began. In a long introduction to the question, he spoke about the status of Bosnia and Herzegovina and praised the Bosnian authorities for their progress, and he also praised Borelli and his work. Then he asked: “What is the path of Bosnia and Herzegovina in your opinion, what will your service do to further accelerate Bosnia’s progress on the path to the EU?”
“Am I in the wrong room?”
Borrell was visibly confused and said, “What exactly was the question?” And although Nemec had spoken in Slovenian before, this time, he tried to explain his question to Borrell in English. Looking around the room, Borrell said, “Dear colleague, this has nothing to do with today’s time for questions. Today, we are discussing transatlantic relations. Or am I in the wrong room, perhaps? I could speak on the topic of Bosnia, but that is a different subject.”
Borrell did not answer Nemec’s question at all because the other MEPs continued with their questions, ignoring him, and Matjaž Nemec then said in shock: “What the f…?” The next speaker also pointed out that the actual topic on the agenda was the transatlantic approach in a multilateral world and asked a question, to which Borrell responded.
Nemec regularly posts his speeches on social media, but he skipped this one. However, on the same day, he boasted that he had been elected head of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with the Maghreb countries – Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania. “I consider my election a great recognition of my work so far, especially on the Western Balkans, as countries such as Italy, France, Spain and Portugal usually compete for the leadership of such large European Parliament delegations,” he said. Well, hopefully, he will stick to the theme this time.