September 28, 2009 / 2:41 PM / 10 years ago

German minister-to-be rebuffs question in English

Guido Westerwelle, leader of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) addresses the media during a news conference in Berlin September 28, 2009. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Guido Westerwelle, who is widely expected to become foreign minister in the next German government, admonished a reporter who asked him a question in English on Monday, saying: “We’re in Germany here.”

The head of the Free Democrats (FDP), who are poised to enter government in coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, was giving his first news conference since Sunday’s election when a BBC reporter asked whether he might be willing to respond to a question in English.

“Would you please be so kind, this is a press conference in Germany,” Westerwelle replied in German.

Undeterred, the reporter then asked Westerwelle if he could respond in German to a question in English, only to be rebuffed again.

“In Great Britain people are expected to speak English and it is the same in Germany, people are expected to speak German,” Westerwelle answered.

Using a translator, the BBC reporter then proceeded to ask a question about how German foreign policy would change with Westerwelle as foreign minister.

Westerwelle dodged the question, before adding: “Just so it’s clear, I’m happy to meet you for tea outside the press conference and then we can speak only English. But we’re in Germany here.”

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