Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Westerwelle blasted over partner's travel

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was hit with criticism Wednesday that his partner Michael Mronz was accompanying him on a South American trip to do his own business networking.

But Westerwelle hit out at any suggestion that his partner Michael Mronz was using the trip for his own gain.

Although Mronz is paying his own way according to Westerwelle, his presence has raised questions about his access to key people via the minister.

Mronz is a event manager who is active in the sports industry and Brazil, to which Mronz is accompanying Westerwelle along with other South American countries, is hosting the Football World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Games.

“For me, the demands of German business interests oversees are a foreign policy priority because it is about German jobs,” Westerwelle said. “That’s why it’s good that a high-ranking business delegation accompanies me.”

“I’m happy that Mr Mronz is taking the time to accompany me at his own cost in order to inform himself about, and engage in, social projects in the region. We want that and we’ll continue doing it.”

Mronz, who is also a director of the charity Ein Herz für Kinder, told daily aBild: “Whenever I have the time, I would always like to accompany Mr Westerwelle on his trips, to engage with social programs for children.

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