Olaf Scholz found his answer funny
Photo: Screenshot / SPIEGEL TV
Everything could have been so beautiful.
From the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau, not only images of traditional Bavaria went around the world, but also signals of unity among the leading Western industrial nations around the world: 28 billion euros for Ukraine, a joint declaration with the host countries, in which the commitment to of a »rules-based international order«.
The summit can be described as a success - and was therefore automatically one for host Olaf Scholz.
Scholz' final press conference and his answer to a journalist's question could be interpreted as a fly in the ointment.
Rosalia Romanciek wanted to know whether Scholz could specify the promised security guarantees for Ukraine.
Scholz's reaction: "Yes." This was followed by a pause, then a quiet chuckle from Scholz before he followed up with "I could".
Another laugh, another pause, then a "That's it" from Scholz, rounded off with another laugh and a big grin.
There was no further inquiry from the journalist.
The criticism of Scholz' non-answer was not long in coming.
The Chancellor's behavior on social networks was described as arrogant, unfriendly and narcissistic.
Dennis Radtke, MEP of the CDU, wrote on Twitter: "'Respect for you' was just before the election."
The journalist herself thought it was "a real shame" that she didn't receive an answer.
When she learned German, "the polite form was strongly recommended to me for press conferences," she wrote on Twitter.
In the "Markus Lanz" program, climate activist Luisa Neubauer called the scene "uncomfortable".
The journalist Yasmine M'Barek spoke of a "warning signal that Scholz continues to use his position as Chancellor to be able to afford not to give any answers".
The chancellor received encouragement from his party colleague Ralf Stegner: "You can't talk publicly about the type of security guarantees.
Hopefully that's the result of negotiations.
Intelligent people also notice that this is the case.
That was expressed with Hanseatic humor.«
And indeed there is some evidence that Scholz himself sees his answer as his humorous version of a statement along the lines of "Yes, I could, but we have agreed that for strategic reasons we will initially treat this topic confidentially".
Homage to Willy Brandt?
It was also not the first time that Scholz reacted taciturnly to questions that he could have answered longer.
For example, when he was asked on the program "Report from Berlin" in relation to Robert Habeck's tips for saving energy if he had any other suggestions, Scholz replied: "Nope."
To Scholz's salvation in the case of Rosalia Romanciek's unanswered question, it must be mentioned that a few minutes earlier he had given a more specific answer to a similar question.
One of the security guarantees would be that Ukraine can defend itself.
That would have to be ensured.
Discussions have been going on about this and other security guarantees for a long time, but it is far from being so concrete that it "should make sense to talk about it now".
And maybe Scholz just wanted to follow in the footsteps of an SPD legend with his answer: in his famous interview with Friedrich Nowottny in 1972, ex-Chancellor Willy Brandt only answered "Yes", "No" and "Yes". responded.
According to Nowottny, who conducted the interview for the "Tagesschau" at the time, Brandt was offended that only three questions and 90 seconds were scheduled for the interview.
Olaf Scholz was not subject to such a time limit at the press conference.