Green Sleaze in Germany (

Germany’s Green Party is currently being rocked by a cronyism scandal, after it was revealed that several key figures in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action were not only ideological allies but also close relatives. These revelations forced economy minister Robert Habeck—a member of the Greens—to sack his closest aide and ally, Patrick Graichen, the former state secretary responsible for pushing through radical and costly green energy policies. 

First, it emerged that Patrick Graichen was instrumental in selecting a friend as the head of Germany’s Energy Agency, without disclosing that his preferred candidate was previously the best man at his wedding. In another instance, it was revealed that a ministry official happened to be married to Graichen’s sister, Verena, who works at the Öko-Institut in Freiburg, where another of the Graichen siblings is also employed. Such nepotism led the media to dub them the ‘Graichen Clan.’ 

Habeck’s belated reaction to this scandal further damaged his party. After the revelations regarding Graichen’s best man, Habeck called this “a mistake” and resisted firing Graichen. Instead, he lamented about a political campaign of the opposition and the “fossil lobby,” saying he refused to “sacrifice humans” for them. However, after it surfaced that Graichen had approved a €600,000 public subsidy for an environmental NGO where, incidentally, his sister Verena sat on the board, Habeck could no longer brush the issue aside. “This was one mistake too many,” he said, regretfully dismissing his top ally from the ministry’s leadership. However, he added that Graichen was the victim of a hate campaign allegedly being fueled by “right-wing extremists and Putin trolls” online. Some critics spoke of a ‘green mafia’ that has captured Graichen’s former ministry.


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