Merkel admits mistakes in case of domestic intelligence chief
News | 24.09.2018
BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday admitted she made mistakes in handling the firing of intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maaßen, saying she regretted the public outcry over what was widely seen as a promotion.
“The result of last Tuesday was not convincing,” Merkel said at a press conference. “I thought too much about the functionality and the procedures in the interior ministry, but too little about how it affects people when they hear of a promotion. I very much regret that this could happen.”
The government removed Maaßen from his post as head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency after he came under fire for his remarks about a far-right rally in Chemnitz and allegedly providing members of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) with confidential material.
The decision to move him to a higher-grade and better paid job as state secretary in the interior ministry under Horst Seehofer was met with heavy cross-party criticism, prompting the coalition to review the move. On Sunday the coalition decided to make Maaßen a special adviser on European and international affairs — including migration — in the interior ministry instead.
Merkel described the new compromise as “appropriate” and “communicable, because it is not a promotion.”
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