Baerbock regrets cross removal at G7 meeting
11/04/2022 11:31 p.m
At the meeting of the G7 foreign ministers in Münster, something that was missing in the peace hall of the town hall caused a lot of discussion: a historic wooden cross. After criticism from the Union, Foreign Minister Baerbock explains why the “Council cross” was taken down.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock regretted her Foreign Office’s decision to have a historic cross removed from the G7 meeting venue in Münster. “I would have liked it if we hadn’t put it away,” said the Green politician after the meeting with her colleagues from the economically strong democracies. It was not a conscious decision, “especially not a political decision, but obviously an organizational decision”. You only found out about it on Friday morning.
The foreign ministers of the G7 met at the two-day meeting organized by the Federal Foreign Office in the Peace Hall of the historic town hall, among other places. On a ledge on a wood-panelled wall there is actually a large cross, according to the “Westfälische Nachrichten” the “Ratskreuz” from the 16th century. However, photos of the G7 round from the room show an empty pedestal without a crucifix.
Strong criticism from the Union
Baerbock said the Hall of Peace has been extensively remodeled to make it a conference venue “and as part of that remodeling, the cross has actually been moved as well.” The cross is part of the history of the place and should therefore also have belonged in the historical hall. She asks for your understanding that as Foreign Minister she is not personally responsible for the organizational change. “Nevertheless, I very much regret it,” said Baerbock.
The decision caused an uproar. The diocese of Münster showed a lack of understanding, Münster’s mayor Markus Lewe from the CDU said, “this decision should not have been made and I regret it”. The parliamentary director of the Union faction, Thorsten Frei from the CDU, criticized the television channel “Welt” that anyone who had symbols of the Christian faith removed from a meeting room was not cosmopolitan, but obstinate. His parliamentary colleague Christiane Schenderlein told the “Rheinische Post” that “a new, sad and unimagined dimension had been reached”.
Baerbock responded to this criticism without naming the Union directly: “Let us argue politically about the situation in Ukraine, in Iran or about other domestic political things. But I really think we should argue about this topic now – that’s really a wrong sign, especially from the city of Münster.” In addition to Germany, the G7 group includes France, Italy, Japan, Canada, the USA and Great Britain. Germany will chair until the end of the year and is currently responsible for organizing conferences.