Polter diplomacy and anger among the Greens: how criticism of Baerbock grows

Polter diplomacy and anger among the Greens: how criticism of Baerbock grows


The path to the position of Federal Foreign Minister has already been bumpy for Annalena Baerbock. The man, now 43 years old, ran in the 2021 federal election campaign as the first candidate for chancellor in the history of the Greens. A candidacy backed by polls that put the Greens ahead of the Union, at least for a short period of time.

However, Baerbock largely ruined his chances at the time, carelessly handling omitted sources in a book that, as soon as he presented him as a chancellor candidate in June 2021, was covered with accusations of plagiarism.

The Greens’ poll numbers collapsed and did not recover until September’s federal election, in which the Greens finished with 14.7 percent, well behind the Union in second place (24.2 percent).

Uproar at meeting with Netanyahu over images from the Gaza Strip

The most recent mishap as foreign minister occurred in Israel during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to media reports, the dispute concerned images of the Gaza Strip that Netanyahu had shown. Among other things, they should show Gaza markets where there is enough food.

According to a report by “Channel 13”, Baerbock clearly criticized these images, which did not reflect the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip. She is also said to have asked Netanyahu not to show the photographs. Instead, she offered to show the Israeli prime minister photographs of starving children in Gaza on his cell phone.

Netanyahu is said to have responded angrily that the photos of the markets were real. Baerbock expressed his anger at reports of the conflict, which did not exist. The Foreign Office described the report as “misleading”.

Shock after decision to send Eurofighter fighter jets to Saudi Arabia

Another decision with a view to war in the Middle East caused the left wing of the Green Party to rebel against the Foreign Secretary: the approval of the delivery of British Eurofighter fighter jets to Saudi Arabia. In early January, Baerbock explained his openness to this delivery by saying that Saudi Arabia was protecting Israel by intercepting rockets launched at Israel by the Houthis.

Spicy: The federal government only announced in July last year that it would suspend the delivery of Eurofighters to the wealthy Gulf state until the end of the 2025 legislature. As a joint European project, Germany has a veto over export decisions. Arms exports to Saudi Arabia are generally considered controversial due to the controversial human rights situation in the kingdom and also the intervention of the emerging military power.

Party leader Ricarda Lang later distanced herself from Baerbock in a radio interview: “In view of the human rights situation, including the internal constitution of Saudi Arabia, I still think that the delivery of Eurofighters is a mistake.”

Germany’s abstention at the UN on an “immediate ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip

Baerbock’s vote in the UN resolution on an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip was heavily criticized. As Germany’s top diplomatic representative, the green politician abstained from attending the meeting at the end of October 2023. This decision met with strong opposition not only from the Union, but also from the FDP, a partner in the traffic light coalition.

Party leader Lindner then explained that the FDP was not involved in the decision. “We know that Israel has the right to self-defense,” said the FDP leader. The Central Council of Jews also hoped that the UN resolution would be rejected. The resolution was adopted at an emergency meeting with 120 votes in favor from 193 member states. 14 states voted against and 45 abstained.

Baerbock’s yes to the EU asylum commitment meets strong resistance from the Greens

Germany’s Foreign Minister called the federal government’s approval of the EU’s asylum pledge, which aims to more vigorously combat irregular migration, one of the “most difficult political days.” The rules also apply to families with children.

In particular, the left wing of the party, including party leader Ricarda Land, later criticized the approval advocated by Baerbock. The reform provides for stricter asylum rules, asylum procedures at the external borders and a mandatory solidarity mechanism between Member States. In particular, asylum seekers who arrive with little chance of staying, a central element of the reform, should be deported more quickly and directly to the EU’s external borders.

Foreign Minister’s mishaps provoke global ridicule

Technical malfunctions on the Green Foreign Minister’s flights caused repeated ridicule at home and abroad. At the end of January, Baerbock had to cancel its flight to East Africa because there was no overflight permit for Eritrea. The Minister had to fly several times over the Red Sea with the Bundeswehr’s flight preparation apparatus until it ran out of fuel and had to wait a long time to solve the problem of the overflight from the air. Baerbock and his team had to move to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

In August alone, faulty landing flaps on another flight reserve aircraft prevented a planned trip to Australia twice in a row.

137,000 euros only for makeup artists in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The report from the Taxpayers Association caused discontent because, under the traffic light coalition, in 2022 spending on photographers, hairdressers and makeup artists had increased by almost 80 percent compared to the previous government of Angela Merkel (CDU). Costs increased especially in the Federal Foreign Office: Baerbock’s ministry spent 137,000 euros, more than half of the total expenditure on makeup artists.

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