NewsWorldGerman Deputy Energy Minister resigns after recruiting best man in top job

German Deputy Energy Minister resigns after recruiting best man in top job

A senior official in the German economy ministry is leaving his post after a nepotism scandal, Economy Minister Robert Habeck confirmed on Wednesday.

Patrick Graichen, who served as deputy minister for energy, first came under fire several weeks ago when it emerged that he had facilitated the recruitment of a friend, who was best man at his wedding, as head of the German Energy Agency without initially making their relationship known.

Habeck previously said the recruitment decision had been a mistake and backed Graichen, but the ministry subsequently started an internal investigation.

Graichen’s family ties to a research organisation – Oeko-Institut – that the ministry commissions for studies and reports subsequently came under scrutiny from opposition parties who demanded his resignation.

Habeck on Wednesday said there had also been a violation of internal compliance rules regarding government funding for a national climate protection project in which Graichen’s sister was involved.

Graichen was involved in the approval process.

“People make mistakes … it was one mistake too many,” Habeck told a news conference, adding that it had been a difficult decision and that a successor would be found – ideally before the parliamentary summer break.

Graichen’s brother and sister work at the institute and his sister is also married to Secretary of State for Economic Affairs Michael Kellner, but Habeck said that relationship had been known when the coalition government took over.

Both Habeck and Graichen are from the Green party, which has seen popularity slump in polls over Germans’ wariness of how much the Greens’ climate policies will cost them.

Support for the Greens fell by a third to 12% in the state of Bremen on Sunday compared with the last election in 2019, according to projected results. The vote reflected a drop in support at a federal level too, to around 15% in opinion polls from a peak of 23-24% last year.


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