Thursday

20th Jun 2019

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 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join 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.

News in Brief

  1. Johnson vs. Hunt to replace May as UK leader
  2. EU leaders take aim at Russia's role in Ukraine
  3. EUobserver appoints new interim editor-in-chief
  4. Ombudsman: Tusk's staff should record lobby meetings
  5. Tusk now 'more cautious' on top jobs decision at summit
  6. Mogherini: my replacement 'needs security experience'
  7. Irish PM: 'enormous hostility' to new Brexit extension
  8. Merkel hopes to name commission chief by early July

Analysis

EU should stop an insane US-Iran war

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!", US president Donald Trump tweeted on Monday (20 May).

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. Additional summit over top EU jobs looms
  2. EU advisor roasted over Russian media interview
  3. EU must counter Kushner's so-called 'peace' plan
  4. Tusk wants quick deal on EU top jobs at Thursday summit
  5. EU keeps North Macedonia and Albania at arm's length
  6. What's going on in Moldova - and what next?
  7. EU officials prepare for US extravaganza on Palestine
  8. EU urges Swiss to move on talks or face sanction

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us