Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman has apologised after he faced criticism for greeting German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock with a kiss during a European Union (EU) meeting, as per a report in Politico. Mr Radman claimed that he was unaware that he had potentially humiliated his German counterpart with the friendly welcome during a meeting of foreign ministers from the EU and other countries in the process of joining the EU in Berlin on November 2.
According to Croatian media, Mr Radman said that it was an “inconvenient moment”. He added, “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 of the other, we are neighbours. It was a very good conference. Maybe it turned out awkwardly.”
As per the videos making rounds on the internet, foreign ministers of various countries are seen gathering in front of the media for a group picture. The Croatian Foreign Minister reaches out to shake hands with Ms Baerbock and then leans forward for a kiss. The German Minister then turns her head to present her cheek and later laughs it away.
dr. sc. Gordan Grlić Radman,
ministar vanjskih i europskih poslova
— 🎖 🅽🅴🅲🅹🅴🅿🅸Š🅰 🎖 (@RashoVeljkov1) November 3, 2023
According to the outlet, when questioned about the awkward kiss during a news conference on Saturday, Ms Baerbock declined to comment. She told reporters during a meeting with Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in Baku, “We didn’t talk about kissing today.”
Former Croatian Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor criticised Mr Radman. She wrote on X, formerly Twitter, “Forced kissing of women is also called violence, right?”
This comes after FIFA announced last month that it had imposed a three-year ban on former Spanish football chief Luis Rubiales following his forced kiss on the lips of World Cup winner Jenni Hermoso.
World football’s governing body provisionally suspended Rubiales for 90 days following his unsolicited kiss during the medal ceremony after Spain won the Women’s World Cup in Sydney in August. FIFA said Rubiales would now be banned from all football activity for three years. Ms Hermoso said the incident left her feeling “vulnerable and like the victim of an assault”, with a statement on social media describing it as “an impulsive, macho act, out of place and with no type of consent on my part”. Mr Rubiales, who repeatedly insisted the kiss was consensual, resigned as head of the Spanish football federation in September.