- Gordan Grlic Radman apologises for ‘awkward’ moment with German minister
Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman has sparked controversy after he was caught on camera attempting to kiss his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock while posing for a group photo in Berlin.
The video shows Radman, 65, reaching out to Baerbock, 42, to shake her hand and trying to kiss her on the cheek at a photoshoot during an EU conference on Thursday, while the German foreign affairs minister awkwardly swivels her head away from him.
The gesture drew fierce debate on social media and sparked outrage from feminist groups, but Grlic Radman shrugged off the criticism.
‘I don’t know what the problem was… We always greet each other warmly. It is a warm human approach to a colleague,’ he told reporters.
Ms Baerbock has not yet commented on the incident which the German media have dubbed ‘Kuss-Attacke’ – the ‘kiss attack’.
Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman has sparked controversy after he was caught on camera attempting to kiss his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock
Ms Baerbock has not yet commented on the incident which the German media have dubbed the ‘kiss attack’.
Radman has insisted that he was making a ‘warm human approach to a colleague’ by attempting to kiss her
It comes just days after Luis Rubiales, former head of the Spanish football federation, was banned from the sport for three years for kissing Jenni Hermoso on the mouth when she and her teammates won the Women’s World Cup.
Radman said he was not immediately aware that he may have embarrassed his German counterpart by being overly friendly.
‘Maybe it was an awkward moment,’ Radman said.
‘If someone saw something bad in it, then I apologise to whoever took it that way.’
However, prominent Croatian women’s rights activist Rada Boric slammed the minister’s move as ‘highly inappropriate’, adding that ‘warm greetings’ should happen only among those whose relationship allows kissing.
‘It’s clear that such a relationship doesn’t exist here and that the (German) minister was left surprised with such closeness,’ Boric told the Jutarnji List outlet.
Former Croatian prime minister Jadranka Kosor also took to social media to criticise Grlic Radman.
‘Violent kissing of women is also called violence, is it not?’ Kosor wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Unlike the French and the Italians, Slavic Croats are known for being more reserved in their greetings.
A travel guide for those visiting the country reads: ‘Greetings with kisses, one on each cheek, are usually reserved for family or very close friends.’
Although Ms Baerbock has not commented on the kiss, sources close to the minister tried to play down the incident and told German tabloid Bild that her counterpart was late and had just been clumsy.
They are understood to be on first-name terms.