Thursday

28th May 2020

Trump's new envoy to Germany under fire

  • Berlin wants the new US ambassador to Germany to clarify remarks (Photo: Merlijn Hoek)

The former president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz has suggested the new US ambassador to Germany returned to the United States.

Schulz told the German press agency, DPA, on Monday (4 June) that comments made by US ambassador Richard Grenell in an interview with Breitbart news to empower conservatives in Europe were unacceptable.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Schulz said he hoped a Grenell plan to dine with Austria's chancellor Sebastian Kurz next week would follow with "a short stay of Mr. Grenell in his function as ambassador in Germany."

Grenell told Breitbart, a US-based online paper, over the weekend that he wanted "to empower other conservatives throughout Europe, other leaders".

"I think there is a groundswell of conservative policies that are taking hold because of the failed policies of the left," said the former Fox News contributor.

Breitbart News is a conservative news outlet once broadly referred to as a springboard for the alt-right by co-founder Steven Bannon, who himself has been touring Europe to drum up support for populist leaders like Hungary's Victor Orban.

The comments have been seen by some as a breach of diplomatic protocol, given that ambassadors are supposed to steer clear of local and regional politics.

Anthony Gardner, the former US ambassador to the European Union, described them as scandalous, noting that US ambassadors should not be empowering any political parties.

Lars Klingbeil, the secretary-general of Germany's Social Democratic party, in a tweet, also told Grenell to refrain from interfering in the politics of the host country.

Grenell has been in the job less than a month.

He defended his remarks on Twitter, saying he stands by his comments and that any idea he would endorse candidates or parties "is ridiculous".

Germany's foreign ministry has demanded Grenell clarify his views during a first official visit later this week.

Meanwhile, Grenell has also, since the interview, invited Austria's chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose government is in coalition with the right-wing populist FPO party, to dine together next week.

"I think Sebastian Kurz is a rock star. I'm a big fan," said Grenell.

Opinion

Is Trump the EU's only problem?

With Russia and China posing (different) threats to the EU from its east, and migration pressures from Africa to the south, the EU needs to find ways - and quickly - to reinvigorate the Brussels-Washington axis.

Analysis

Trump befriends Conte, depresses EU

Most EU leaders found US president Donald Trump "depressing" at the G7, but one of them - Italy's Giuseppe Conte - made a new friend.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU Commission's €1.85trn recovery package - key points
  2. Why developing countries may be last to get the vaccine
  3. Budapest to EU: 'Sorry seems to be the hardest word'
  4. EU Commission's green recovery criticised as 'brown'
  5. Mix of loans and grants in Commission €750bn package
  6. EU recovery agreement deal may need 'personal' summit
  7. Little love, as Berlin bids 'auf Wiedersehen' to Trumpism
  8. Future of Europe Conference: Council urged to move now

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us