Family Minister Spiegel resigns – Fatah succeeds her | free press


Federal Family Minister Anne Spiegel (Green Party) resigned after criticism of her handling of the flood disaster in the Rhineland-Palatinate in the summer of 2021.

The 41-year-old said, today, Monday, that she decided, due to political pressure, to make her position available, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Family Affairs. “I’m doing this to avoid harming the office, which is facing major political challenges.” At first it was not clear who would follow. The Green Party in charge of the department announced its decision “urgently”.

At the weekend, it became known that Spiegel, the environment minister of the Rhineland-Palatinate, had left for a four-week family vacation in France after ten days of flooding and had only made it once to visit a site in the Ahr Valley. . During an emotional appearance, Spiegel called Sunday night’s holiday a mistake and apologized for it. She justified her decision at the time, among other things, with the health of her husband, who had a stroke in 2019. Her family needed the leave.

She also admitted that, contrary to what was originally announced, she did not switch to cabinet meetings from holidays.

Schulz’s first ministerial resignation

For Chancellor Olaf Schultz (SPD) and the traffic light government, this is the first ministerial resignation. Schulz expressed his “great respect” for the resignation. “I worked well and enjoyed working with Federal Minister Anne Spiegel,” Schulz said Monday in Berlin. He was “very moved” by what the 41-year-old had to say about her life. “That is why her decision deserves the highest respect, at least she respects her more than I do.” The move was certainly not easy for Spiegel, he learned from a conversation with her.

SPD leader Saskia Esken said that with this move Spiegel shows personal integrity and a sense of responsibility towards citizens, despite the difficult family situation she is experiencing. According to von Esken, the same standard should also apply to NRW cabinet members who continued their vacation for several days after the magnitude of the century flood became known.

Coalition partner FDP also spoke of “respect”. “We wish Ms. Spiegel and her family all the best,” party leader and Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner told the Rheinische Post. When asked if Spiegel needed a woman to succeed to the cabinet, he said it was all up to the Greens. “There is no interference with their questions.”

Spiegel recently moved to Berlin

When she took office as Minister of Family Affairs last December, she described fighting child poverty and introducing so-called basic child security as priority policy goals. Spiegel recently moved to Berlin with her husband and four children.

Union politicians and representatives of the Alternative for Germany party had called for their resignation or dismissal. CDU leader Frederic Merz told Bild newspaper on Sunday that the holidays and their image were more important to her than the fate of the people at Ahr newspaper. “The chancellor should fire her.” “Because of the many errors and lies, the resignation is belated and valid,” CSU Vice President Dorothy Barr told “Augsburger Allgemeine” (Tuesday Edition). Alternative for Germany faction leader Alice Fidel described the move as “too late”.

In the flood disaster in mid-July 2021, more than 180 people died in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, 134 of them in the Ahr Valley. About 750 people were injured in the Rhineland-Palatinate, and large parts of the infrastructure and thousands of homes were destroyed. Many people still live in emergency or alternative shelter.

Henin Esser case

The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Fust (CDU) referred to the case of the Minister for the Environment of North Rhine-Westphalia, Heinen Esser (CDU), who resigned after it became known that a few days after the floods she was celebrating her birthday with Other members of the government in Mallorca have celebrated the pair. “The SPD and the Greens raised their spirits very high here in North Rhine-Westphalia in the last week and have sentenced Ursula Heinen Esser,” West said on Monday in Wuppertal.

In the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament, the opposition – the CDU, Free Voters and the Alternative for Germany – have been calling for Spiegel’s resignation since she testified before the state parliament’s inquiry into the flood disaster on March 11 in Mainz. At that time it was not about the holidays in France. Spiegel was criticized for worrying about her political image in exchanging short messages with her staff immediately after the night of the flood.

The Green Party politician on the Inquiry Committee of the state parliament in Mainz said that helping those affected in the Ahr Valley was of paramount importance to her. “This is completely wrong and I vehemently deny that I ever had a different priority.” (dpa)

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