Christine Lambrecht speaks about the war in Ukraine as New Year’s celebrations continue behind her in a speech that was criticized as inappropriate and deaf.
German opposition politicians are demanding the resignation of Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht over what they say is a series of blunders, the latest of which was a New Year’s Eve speech they describe as an embarrassment.
Lambrecht was widely criticized for a video speech released on social media filmed on the streets of Berlin during chaotic New Year celebrations. Her detractors denounced her for what they believed to be the tone-deaf message.
In the speech, posted on her private Instagram account, Lambrecht said 2022 had presented Germany with incredible challenges.
“There’s a war raging in the middle of Europe,” she said, referring to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, her voice barely audible over the sound of fireworks exploding.
“And connected to that for me was a lot of special impressions that I could get, a lot of meeting with interesting and wonderful people,” she said. “I want to thank you very much for that.”
I have translated the relevant bits (as close as possible to the original, hence some clumsy wording).
I’m sorry, this is disastrous. pic.twitter.com/JMaJlh08cu
— Ulrike Franke (@RikeFranke) January 1, 2023
The war in Ukraine, combined with the celebratory backdrop and comments about “big people,” has angered opposition politicians and some media outlets.
Serap Guler, an opposition CDU lawmaker, indirectly called on Chancellor Olaf Scholz to fire Lambrecht.
“The speech about the war with fireworks on New Year’s Eve in the background is just the crowning achievement of her series of embarrassments,” Guler wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “Therefore, for every extra minute that the chancellor detains this minister and thus further damages the reputation of our country, he can be held responsible.”
It is not the first time that Lambrecht has come under fire.
Markus Soder – leader of the CDU partner, the Christian Social Union – had already asked for her resignation in December.
“It would simply be better with Mrs. Lambrecht if she quit voluntarily,” he told Bild newspaper. “Anyone who can’t even manage to order munitions and is struggling to buy some American fighter jets is simply not working.”
Lambrecht, a member of Scholz’s social democrats, was criticized in the media for her response to the Russian invasion and Germany’s slow support for Ukraine.
The minister was mocked last year for an announcement that Germany was supposed to send 5,000 helmets to Ukrainewhose The government asked for heavy weapons to repel Russia.
The German media called her New Year’s speech inappropriate.
In a scathing comment headlined ‘Lambrecht is no longer tenable as minister’, the newspaper Tagesspiegel wrote that her New Year’s speech made the war sound like an ‘exciting professional experience’.
The minute-long message, filmed on a mobile phone, “shamed” Germany, the daily Bild said.
In the context of the war in Ukraine, the video was “inappropriate and embarrassing,” Spiegel magazine wrote.
German media also questioned Lambrecht’s ability to lead an effort by Europe’s largest economy to revive its long-neglected armed forces in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine.
“For this decades-long task, one would like to see a leader who inspires joy and energy in defense policy, who exhorts the ministry and the troops and who uses public attention for the benefit of the armed forces,” said the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. wrote.