Sunday

14th Apr 2024

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

Get the EU news that really matters

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.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Interview

EU should use 'all means' to end war in Gaza: Belgian minister

The EU should use "all means" possible to end the violence in Gaza, including sanctions, a peace conference, and a review of the EU-Israel Association Agreement, Belgian development cooperation minister Caroline Gennez told EUobserver.

Opinion

The Bolsonaro-Orbán far-right nexus

Defeated far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has given various reasons for sheltering at the Hungarian embassy in Brasilia — none of them make sense.

Latest News

  1. UK-EU deal on Gibraltar only 'weeks away'
  2. Belgium declares war on MEPs who took Russian 'cash'
  3. Brussels Dispatches: Foreign interference in the spotlight
  4. Calling time on Amazon's monopolism and exploitation
  5. Resist backlash on deforestation law, green groups tell EU
  6. China's high-quality development brings opportunities to the world
  7. Ukraine tops aid list again, but EU spending slumps
  8. Who did Russia pay? MEPs urge spies to give names

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us