The Chancellor has two problems. Their names are Christine Lambrecht and Karl Lauterbach. The two SPD ministers are not doing their jobs justice. This has long since had an impact on the rest of the government and its public perception.
Politics is not an end in itself, one would think. Especially not when it comes to cabinet posts. It is not for nothing that politicians have to swear that they will “devote their energy to the welfare of the German people” and “conscientiously fulfill their duties”.
A tough job, no question. But not without privileges. And what really doesn’t go over well is when a minister takes advantage of the benefits of office without fulfilling the responsibilities that come with it. This is exactly the impression that two members of the SPD cabinet are creating: Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht.
He makes himself a political star on German television. She chauffeured her adult son in the government helicopter. Both are obviously only interested in what is useful to them in their job. It seems that neither Lauterbach nor Lambrecht feel like dealing with and tackling unexciting subjects.
The 126th German Doctors’ Day is currently taking place in Bremen. A meeting at which, in addition to doctors, there are also a lot of other experts from the healthcare industry on site. Anyone who speaks to participants does not have to wait long before the first critical comments about Lauterbach are made, even if he is present himself.
Many are dissatisfied with the work of their responsible minister. Probably also because Lauterbach regularly prefers talk show appearances to his commitments. As FOCUS Online learned from circles in the Ministry of Health, appointments there are regularly postponed or canceled altogether. The SPD politician prefers to appear regularly on TV.
And not only that: Lauterbach recently proudly shared a picture with the well-known author Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre on Instagram. “We talked about the role of intellectuals and open letters in the time of the Ukraine war,” it says. We went for a long walk together.
While Lauterbach is walking, others have been urgently waiting for an appointment with the minister for months – to discuss how laws can be advanced, for example, or to discuss whether the inevitable increases in contributions to health and long-term care insurance can still be counteracted. But Lauterbach obviously sees no time pressure here.
MEPs are frustrated too. Only recently they had hoped in the health committee that the minister would show up again at one of their meetings, after all it was also about the Corona situation. However, there was no trace of Lauterbach. At the time, he was instead doing an interview in the public morning magazine.
The priorities are clear: Lauterbach enjoys its media presence. What happens behind the scenes is often neglected.
It would actually be a good time to deal with health policy construction sites that have been left undone. The Corona situation has calmed down sufficiently for this. But Lauterbach already has a new topic: monkeypox. A rare disease that was first detected in Germany in mid-May. Many in the healthcare sector are already shaking their heads. Although it is important to take precautions, there are already fears that Lauterbach could get into something here: his next chance for a few months in the limelight.
Christine Lambrecht (SPD) does not have to struggle with too little limelight either. Your house, the Federal Ministry of Defense (BMVg), is currently the focus of public attention. The Federal Chancellor has announced a historic turning point for this. A special fund of 100 billion euros is to be invested in order to upgrade. For Lambrecht it was actually the opportunity to put himself in the limelight.
Problem: The SPD politician is not exactly known for her urge to work overtime. On the contrary, Lambrecht has been criticized again and again in recent weeks because she is not committed enough. For example, she is said to have refused the time-consuming introductory program in her new job – quite apart from getting to know the troops. So far, there have only been a few trips to international partners, and at an appointment abroad in the USA, the minister is said to have asked for sufficient free time. Lambrecht gives the impression that she is not particularly interested in her new post.
At the same time, the former Minister of Justice caused a stir because she took her adult son on a helicopter flight to an official appointment that was on the way to their vacation together on Sylt. That alone left a stale aftertaste. While the BMVg initially defended the trip, according to “Business Insider” lawyers from the legal department are said to have expressed doubts about the legality of the entrainment.
Here, too, Lambrecht paints a very unfavorable picture, giving the impression that she primarily wants to use the advantages of her position as a minister without fulfilling her duties.
Meanwhile, in the traffic light, dissatisfaction with the SPD ministers is growing, especially at Lambrecht. While the Greens parted ways with their former family minister, Anne Spiegel, because she threatened to damage the party and the office, a comparable problem in the SPD is being ignored.
The chancellor will be aware of what Lambrecht and Lauterbach are throwing at him. After all, the SPD only gets 22 percent in the current Sunday trend. The Union is at 26 percent.
Now Scholz is a loyal comrade, but only as long as he doesn’t suffer any damage himself. And he has long since passed that point: two weeks ago, when the SPD lost the election in North Rhine-Westphalia with a bang.