The European Commissioner Günther Oettinger is, once again, under fire from critics. This comes a few weeks after describing the Chinese as “slit-eyed” and speaking about Wallonia as a “micro-region, managed by Communists, who block Europe in its entirety.”
Now the German politician is being accused of travelling to Hungary, last May, aboard the private jet of a businessman close to the Kremlin in Moscow.
The information was published yesterday (Tuesday) by the website euobserver.com, which has had access to the response given by the Commission to a written question from two MEPs.
The response says that Mr Oettinger indeed flew aboard the private jet of the German Klaus Mangold. He did this solely because no commercial flight would have allowed him time to get to Budapest for a meeting with the Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban.
The MEP, Benedek Javor, says that this explanation does not cut any ice, as Mr Oettinger had the choice of four commercial flights on May 18th.
The Commission’s ethics code, says that commissioners cannot receive gifts greater than a value of 150 euros. If Oettinger travelled for free, the rules were, without question, broken. However if he paid, the question arises as to why he travelled on Mr Mangold’s plane.
Mangold was appointed Honorary Consul of Russia in the region of Bade-Würtemberg and has a good relationship with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. Mr Javor says, Mangold is indeed known for having argued for the lifting of European sanctions against Russia, which makes him a “lobbyist”.