1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

German opposition: Expel US ambassador Grenell

March 19, 2019

US Ambassador Richard Grenell is acting like "a high commissioner of an occupying power," the deputy leader of the Free Democrats (FDP) has said. Grenell has also drawn rebuffs from Germany's two governing parties.

US Ambassador Richard Grenell in 2018
Image: Getty Images/O. Andersen

Wolfgang Kubicki, the deputy chairman of the opposition Free Democrats (FDP), said Richard Grenell's repeated interference in German sovereignty should prompt Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to immediately declare Grenell persona non grata.

 "Any US diplomat who acts like a high commissioner of an occupying power must learn that our tolerance also knows its limits," said Kubicki, who is also one of five deputy speakers of Germany's Bundestag parliament.

Wolfgang Kubicki during a plenary session of the Bundestag
Kubicki in his role as parliamentary deputy chairpersonImage: picture-alliance/dpa/B. von Jutrczenka

Grenell had on Tuesday criticized Germany's military spending plans within NATO as insufficient, prompting Kubicki to accuse the envoy of "interfering" repeatedly in political issues of a sovereign country.

Read more: Who is Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Berlin?

Grenell's criticism of Germany's defense spending came weeks after he demanded that Berlin halt Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline being laid across the Baltic Sea to deliver gas from Russia to Germany, and threatened firms involved in the project with sanctions.

SPD: 'Complete diplomatic failure'

Carsten Schneider, caucus manager of the Social Democrats (SPD) within the parliament, told the German news agency DPA on Tuesday that "Mr Grenell is a complete diplomatic failure."

Read more: What's behind America's Nord Stream objections? 

Grenell's behavior, said Schneider, reminded him of "a flail," a farmyard term for somebody who thrashes around wildly, adding that "Mr Grenell damages trans-Atlantic relations with his repeated clumsy provocations."

Carsten Schneider
The SPD's Carsten Schneider called Grenell a "complete diplomatic failure"Image: DW

President Donald Trump's ambassador apparently did not want to recognize that Germany was making a big contribution to the alliance's international missions such as Afghanistan, said Schneider.

Show restraint, urge German conservatives

Michael Grosse-Brömer, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative alliance (CDU/CSU), urged Grenell to show restraint.

"If one keeps an overall view, many comments made are more coherent than those of the American ambassador, if he thinks he has to comment on something every week," said Grosse-Brömer.

Read more: Grenell tells DW why Germany's pursuit of Nord Stream 2 is so dangerous

Germany was the second-largest provider of troops in Afghanistan and was also active in Mali [within a UN mission], he added.

Michael Grosse-Brömer
Michael Grosse-Brömer defended Germany's NATO track recordImage: picture alliance/dpa/P.Seeger

"Germany meets many obligations in terms of foreign assignments and international responsibility and is very committed," said Grosse-Brömer.

Greens: Kubicki's demand 'plain nonsense'

The foreign affairs spokesman for Germany's opposition Greens, Omid Nouripour, dismissed Kubicki's remarks as "plain nonsense."

Grenell was the communications interface with President Donald Trump and in the present circumstances "this was needed more than ever before," Nouripour told the Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper.

ipj/amp (dpa, AFP)

Every day, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. Sign up for the newsletter here.