Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht, already weakened by mistakes, was again criticized on Monday after the broadcast of her wishes, parasitized by firecrackers and statements about the war in Ukraine that were considered inappropriate.
The video only lasts a minute, but was deemed so unsuccessful that the social democratic minister was once again targeted by the conservative opposition and the German media, who were calling for his resignation.
There the minister appears in the middle of Berlin, disheveled by gusts of wind, between two bangs and firecrackers, which are particularly popular with Germans for New Year’s celebrations, provoking war in the Ukraine.
“A war is raging in the middle of Europe. I was able to draw many special impressions from it,” enthuses the minister about the Russian invasion and recalls “many, many encounters with interesting and impressive people”. “I say a big thank you for that.”
“There have long been doubts about his suitability for this position. Now it’s up to the chancellor to take the necessary steps,” criticized the Berliner Tagesspiegel on Monday.
“The New Year’s speech on a Berlin sidewalk, which was recorded by mobile phone and hardly understandable due to firecrackers and the lack of a microphone, would have been embarrassing for an honorary village mayor – quite simply shameful for a defense minister of a NATO member,” says Bild, the country’s most widely read daily newspaper .
Pressed with questions during a regular news conference, the Defense Department spokesman was content to confirm that the video was “private,” produced without an “official source” and posted to his Instagram account.
The minister has racked up disappointments in 2022 that have regularly drawn ridicule and criticism, such as when she announced she would be sending thousands of helmets to Ukrainians who were expecting shipments of heavy weapons from Germany instead.
In the eyes of the Ukrainian regime, but also in the eyes of the Germans, Mrs. Lambrecht embodied the shortcomings of an army whose equipment is outdated. In mid-December, for example, Berlin had to suspend new orders for armored Puma vehicles after a series of breakdowns in armored vehicles already in use with the army.
The minister’s greetings, with New Year’s Eve bangers in the background, “only crown her series of embarrassments,” denounces Serap Güler, who is responsible for defense issues in the CDU.
By appointing his minister, Chancellor Olaf Scholz, “does he really care about Germany’s influence in Europe and in the world?” adds Armin Laschet, unsuccessful candidate to succeed Angela Merkel in 2021.
For the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, the minister’s repeated mistakes represent “a huge burden” on an army that is to be modernized and regained strategic importance in wartime.