Germany: Defense Minister again under fire from critics

After the fireworks, back under the fire of critics. German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht was again attacked by the opposition on Monday 2 January. In question: a video of about a minute, posted on her Instagram account, in which she presents her wishes for the new year. The minister appears there in the center of Berlin, disheveled by gusts of wind, evoking the war in Ukraine between two explosions of firecrackers and fireworks. “A war is raging in the middle of Europe. I was able to draw many particular impressions from it”, slips the minister about the Russian invasion, evoking “many, many meetings with interesting and formidable people. For that, I say a big thank you. »

“It’s just shameful”

A video considered so failed that the social democrat is again targeted by calls for the resignation of the conservative opposition and German media. “Doubts about his suitability for this position have existed for a long time. It is now time for the Chancellor to draw the consequences,” lambasted the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel on Monday.

“The New Year’s speech recorded by mobile phone and barely comprehensible due to the firework flares and the absence of a microphone on a Berlin sidewalk would have already been embarrassing for a volunteer village mayor – for a Minister of Defense of a member of NATO, it is simply shameful”, takes offense Bild, the most widely read daily in the country.

On the political side, same story. The minister’s greetings with New Year’s Eve firecrackers in the background only “cap her series of embarrassments”, denounces Serap Güler, in charge of defense issues within the CDU. By maintaining his minister, Chancellor Olaf Scholz “does he really care about the impact of Germany in Europe and in the world? “Adds Armin Laschet, unsuccessful candidate in 2021 to succeed Angela Merkel.

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The latest in a long series of disappointments

The minister has accumulated disappointments in 2022, regularly attracting ridicule and criticism, as when she announced the sending of thousands of helmets to Ukrainians who were instead expecting deliveries of heavy weapons from Germany.

Christine Lambrecht has also embodied, in the eyes of the Ukrainian regime but also of the Germans, the shortcomings of an army whose equipment is outdated. In mid-December, Berlin thus had to suspend new orders for Puma armored vehicles after a series of breakdowns affecting armored vehicles already in use by the army. For the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, the minister’s repeated errors “constitute a huge mortgage” for an army supposed to modernize and regain strategic importance in times of war.

Pressed with questions during a regular press briefing, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Defense was content to affirm that it was a “private video”, produced without “official resource”.

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