The defense secretary has only been in office a few months and has already made a number of mishaps. It sounded downright grotesque, for example, when Christine Lambrecht (SPD), in the midst of the smoldering Ukraine crisis, publicly made gender an issue for the Bundeswehr or celebrated the return of the hoopoe bird to their military training areas. In the meantime, the woman who didn’t want the office at all has been politically counted out.
In Germany, the Federal Chancellor and Defense Minister share command of the armed forces. In times of peace, it is the currently incumbent Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD), as soon as the state of defense arises, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) takes over the supreme command. The division of labor is in the Basic Law. A few days ago, Olaf Scholz revoked the minister’s authority to distribute the additional 100 billion euros for the Bundeswehr. He wants to have a say himself. And since the defense has not yet occurred, that can only mean: Christine Lambrecht’s chair is shaking.
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She was caught in the political fire from the start. As someone who openly admitted that she had not even aspired to the task of defense minister, she started with a skeptical press: “Minister in basic training – this is not time for the troops,” warned the “world”. The reason: In November 2020, Lambrecht, then Minister of Justice, announced her withdrawal from politics. In interviews, she justified the step with “personal reasons”. She was at an age where you could start something new again, she said in view of the impending defeat of the SPD in the federal elections and thought aloud about perhaps working as a lawyer again, her “dream job”. But when the SPD won the election about a year later, the dream job was forgotten.
Once nominated, their quick personnel decisions caused irritation. Even before taking office, close associates of her predecessor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) should vacate their offices. While other previous members of the government, such as former Economics Minister Peter Altmaier (CDU), celebrated the transfer of office in a friendly manner, Kramp-Karrenbauer demonstratively stayed away from the reception of the successor – a style that she did not otherwise use.
In the new year, the situation in Ukraine also came to the fore for the minister. The pressure on Germany to help the country increased.
But with Scholz’s radical change of course and the decision to upgrade to 100 billion euros, she of all people was given the key position in reorganizing Germany’s security architecture. In his decisive speech in the Bundestag, however, Scholz no longer named the Minister of Defense by name, while he expressly emphasized other ministers as supporters of his change of course. From then on it was clear that he wanted to have a say in the distribution of the billion dollar budget. A de facto disempowerment of Lambrecht.
However, the politically stricken minister still did not go about her work with the necessary diligence.
And as the war in Ukraine deepens, new disturbing details about the work of the Defense Department are leaking out.
All of this led to public criticism of Lambrecht even from his cabinet colleagues. For example, Annalena Baerbock (Greens) had barely feigned her frustration with the Ministry of Defense. One thing is clear: Lambrecht has been counted and is under observation: by her boss, by the troops, by the public and by the opposition anyway. The South Hessian lawyer may soon end up back in her dream job.
The article “Scholz Minister Lambrecht’s long list of breakdowns” comes from WirtschaftsKurier.