Video: Croatia minister issues explanation after attempted kiss of German peer sparks row

The gesture drew fierce debate on social media and sparked outrage from feminist groups

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Published: Mon 6 Nov 2023, 1:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Nov 2023, 1:56 PM

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman sparked controversy on Friday after his attempt to kiss his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock while posing for a group photo in Berlin went viral online.

The video shows Radman, 65, reaching out to Baerbock to shake her hand and trying to kiss her on the cheek at a photoshoot during an EU conference Thursday, while the German foreign affairs minister dodges his affections.

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.

Radman later tried to put across his view while speaking to the Croatian daily Vecernji List and described the moment as "an inconvenient moment".

He explained, "We ministers always greet each other cordially. If someone saw something bad in that, then apologies to whoever took it that way. The plane was late, so we only saw each other in a joint photo. I don't know how someone took it.”

"We are sitting together until one another, we are neighbours. It was a very good conference. Maybe it turned out awkwardly."

Meanwhile, Baerbock decided not to respond when asked about it during a press conference on Saturday, reported Politico. Baerbock, who was addressing the media after her meeting with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, said, “We didn’t talk about kissing today.”

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.

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