German economy ministry criticized for cronyism – DW – 05/07/2023

Vice Chancellor and Minister of Economy Robert Habeckis declining in popularity. Now his right-hand friend is being criticized for giving him an influential job. At a time when controversy has erupted over the government’s plans, the criticism has been heaped back on Habeck himself. Transition to renewable energy.

Habeck’s secretary of state, Patrick Kreisen, a leading expert in the field, was part of the staffing committee. German Energy AgencyThe leadership of Gracen agreed to give Michael Shafer the top job. Gracen made it public that Schaefer was the best man at their wedding twenty years ago.

No one is saying Shafer is unfit for the job. He has a long career in climate and environmental policy at environmental think tanks including Agora Energiewende and the World Wildlife Fund.

Habeck and Gracen both agree that Gracen should have left the personnel commission after learning that her best friend was an applicant. Habeck and Graysen both speak of „mistake.” The application process will now be repeated.

Being the Economy Minister in 2022 is a tough job

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Back to the beginning

Regardless of any ethical or legal issues, the Green Party-led ministry has already suffered political damage.

„It’s a small family clan. Czaja is the general secretary of the main opposition centre-right party,” Mario Zaja said, referring to the leadership team in Habeck’s ministry. Christian Democrats (CDU)He headed the Economy Ministry for 16 years before a new government took office in 2021.

Habeck protects Gretchen, one of the most influential members of the powerful Ministry. His role as Secretary of State has given him significant control Construction of LNG TerminalsFor example, Germany is hoping to reduce its dependence on Russian energy.

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„In my opinion, it was Patrick Graessen who saved Germany from a serious energy crisis,” Habeck said.

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„The ministry should have handled the leadership selection differently,” said Anna-Maija Mertens, president. Transparency International Germany, said. „Even the suspicion of a conflict of interest can damage trust in institutions.”

Habeck has also drawn flak from his ruling allies. When they come to power at the end of 2021, they have promised to increase transparency and crack down on corruption.

„Robert Habeck must carefully examine how the behavior of Secretary of State Gretchen affects his ministry’s reputation and trust in politics,” said Torsten Herbst, a member of the neoliberals. Free Democrats (FDP)said New Zurich newspaperA Swiss newspaper.

Germany cuts ribbon on first LNG terminal

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Personal relationships don’t stop with Gretchen. Her sister, who works at the environmental non-profit Oko Institute in southern Germany, is married to another of Habeck’s state secretaries. However, his professional association with the Ministry of Economy, which includes the climate portfolio, and work for other government bodies pre-date Habeck’s appointment.

Germany’s public sector ranks tenth in Transparency International’s global annual Corruption Perceptions Index. Germany scored 80 out of 100 points in the 2021 ranking, ahead of Denmark, New Zealand and Finland at the top of the list with 88 points.

The ranking suggests that Germany has low levels of corruption and widespread trust in public institutions and civil servants. However, anti-corruption campaigners say officials can do better when it comes to filling public posts, which should be regularised.

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„Until now, appointments have mostly run on an honor system, with the leadership properly assessing potential conflicts of interest,” said Timo Lange, head of the Berlin office. Lobby control, a transparency watchdog. „But we can see in Gretchen’s situation that this doesn’t work.

This article was originally written in German.

While you’re here: Every Tuesday, DW editors round up what’s happening in German politics and society. You can sign up for Berlin Briefing’s weekly email newsletter here.

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