What is the press saying about Lambrecht's resignation?

In the wake of persistent criticism of her conduct in office, German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht tendered her resignation on Monday, which was promptly accepted by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. According to public broadcaster ARD, Lower Saxony's Interior Minister Boris Pistorius is set to replace her. Commentators discuss why Lambrecht failed and how important Germany's defence policies are for Europe.

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Dnevnik (SI) /

Not the right person for the job

Lambrecht's resignation is no big surprise, Dnevnik writes:

“She had to go because of many small scandals that should not have happened to an experienced politician. ... The Ministry of Defence was not the right post for Lambrecht. In previous German governments she served as minister for justice and family affairs, for which she was more suited. Although with her appointment Scholz achieved his goal of distributing ministerial posts in the government equally between men and women, there were doubts about the correctness of his choice from the start - and not just among the opposition Christian Democrats.”

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

No room for a second blunder

The defence ministry is especially important in these times, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung stresses:

“From the beginning, there were doubts that she [Lambrecht] would be able to fill a post that was already very demanding before Russia's attack on Ukraine. Since then, however, it has become more vital than ever that the ill-equipped Bundeswehr has a strong leadership that is respected by the troops. ... But Lambrecht has not been able to attain either the competence or the international recognition that are indispensable if Germany is to be a guarantor of European security, as the chancellor has announced. ... He cannot afford a second blunder, not with this ministry, not in these times.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Finding the right replacement a tricky task

With the war in Ukraine, Scholz needs a highly competent person at the head of the Ministry of Defence, says Der Standard:

“He must now conjure up a real miracle man - or better still, miracle woman: respected by the troops, familiar with the subject matter and capable of leading an extremely difficult ministry. ... Finding someone like that in the SPD isn't an easy task. ... When Lambrecht became minister in December 2021, there was no war. In the meantime it has become a bitter reality. For the German chancellor this means that he must now fill the post in the Defence Ministry quickly and, above all, with more foresight than he did back then.”

wPolityce.pl (PL) /

Defence minister for lack of other options

Germany has a problematic relationship with the military, wPolityce comments:

“For the record, it should be remembered that Lambrecht didn't want to become defence minister in the first place. ... However, it turned out that there were simply too few suitable candidates in the SPD. For years, the Social Democrats neglected the issue of defence due to a pacifism deeply rooted in the party and society and a Russia policy that had spanned three decades: if every Volkswagen exported across the Don brought in a 'peace dividend', what good was the Bundeswehr? Germany's civil and moral superpower was supposed to change the world for the better through trade.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Europe can't afford this crisis now

Germany doesn't have time for squabbling over appointments now, El Mundo stresses:

“The defence minister's resignation opens an inopportune government crisis in the middle of the war in Ukraine and just a few months after the executive gave the green light for Germany's historic rearmament as a cornerstone of European defence. ... Lambrecht was supposed to oversee the reform but progress has been slow, something Europe cannot afford in the face of such a bellicose escalation on its borders. ... A month before the first anniversary of the war, Berlin must step up its military commitment to overcome the worst security crisis in Europe since 1945. The defence of liberal democracy is at stake.”