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Westerwelle calls criticism of trips 'slander'

AFP · 15 Mar 2010, 08:05

Published: 15 Mar 2010 08:05 GMT+01:00

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Westerwelle has been accused of taking with him on official trips businessmen close to him or his pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) or even his brother, who then use the occasions to secure deals.

There have also been eyebrows raised about the presence of the openly gay minister's partner, sporting event manager Michael Mronz, on a recent trip to Asia and one to Latin America last week.

"Such slander from the opposition towards the foreign minister while he is abroad to promote our employment, damages Germany," Westerwelle said in an interview in Bild newspaper late on Sunday.

"It is really the zero level of political culture when the opposition, for their own party interests, attack even the family of their political adversaries," Westerwelle said.

Story continues below…

The minister also defended Mronz's presence during the last trip in the report.

"During the trip Michael Mronz visited several social establishments and gave private donations to projects that benefit children. He has not taken part in any political discussions but he went along to help children in the poor areas after the earthquake in Chile or in Brazil," he said.

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Your comments about this article

10:07 March 15, 2010 by mixxim
Methinks his denial is too loud.
10:38 March 15, 2010 by AirForceGuy
I agree with you 'mixxim', it must indeed be true!
14:52 March 15, 2010 by dbert4
Get a grip, you anti-gay types are just pissed because he took his BF along. Since the BF, head of a German children's charity gave "private" donations to childs causes while along on the trip made it legit and worthwhile. How can one critize, shut the fack up! Live and let live!!!
16:08 March 15, 2010 by The-ex-pat
Nice to know that anyone who disagrees with Westerwelle is anti gay!! dbert4 you are a very small minded person.
16:55 March 15, 2010 by Talonx
dbert4, you don't seem to have followed this story. The criticisms was only that Mronz was schilling for private sports venues' concerns (which is his normal job) and that it was innappropriate (not a fair business practice) to use his relationship to Westerwelle to advance these private business interests. At no point was any criticism levelled regarding his donations to children relief funds (which have nothing to do with business practices). Similar criticisms are being made with regards the special access that Westerwelle is giving other family members. It is quite telling that Westerwelle, instead of responding to these allegations responds to fictional criticisms that were never made.
20:00 March 15, 2010 by Edmond Schindler
This guy goes into the bin marked "Infantile", next to the drawer labeled "Embarrasing Politicians".

He has become a waste of good news space on TV, Radio, Print and Online. Enough said.
22:44 March 15, 2010 by Logic Guy
Well, again, when someone "chooses" to become an elected, government official, then they should know before hand that more will be expected of them. The rules and ethics are simply different.

No, we shouldn't lie, but sometimes the truth shouldn't be revealed or spoken. And a person may see themselves as being something, but yet they must consider how societiy views them as well. If this does'nt happen, then surely there will be problems. People react to you based upon how they understand you.
02:14 March 16, 2010 by Talonx
Logic guy, can you be a little clearer.
21:37 March 17, 2010 by Deutschguy
I'm a long way being a supporter of FDP policies and Westerwelle's take on Germany's social safety net system.

That said, I see nothing wrong with an elected official taking their spouse along with them on a trip.

Even more than that, I see nothing wrong with a spouse, who has his/ her own business interests to develop, working while they are on a trip with a government official. The only caveat is that the spouse's business travel shouldn't be paid for as a non-business spouse's travel.

I don't think that Westerwelle's spouse had his travel paid for by the German government. If that is the case, then there is no reason why his spouse shouldn't travel with him, and then, on his time (and dime) conduct his own business.

What's the big deal? That somebody might award him business or a deal because he is the spouse of a German minister? That could happen anyway, travel or no travel.
01:56 March 18, 2010 by Talonx
Deutschguy, it could 'happen' anyways, and it would still be wrong. This sh#t doesn't just 'happen', people make unethical decisions, and if we want to operate in this mode of economy, their are rules. Otherwise, why not just bring the monarchs back in, they're families recieved special privledges as well. It's called nepotism.
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