ARCHIV - 16.11.2021, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schwerin: Till Backhaus (SPD), der Agrar-, Umwelt- und Klimaschutzminister von Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, spricht auf einer Pressekonferenz. (zu dpa "Backhaus entschuldigt sich für «missverständliche Äußerung»") Foto: Jens Büttner/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa +++ dpa-Bildfunk +++

After sharp criticism, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Agriculture Minister Till Backhaus (SPD) apologized for statements that were seen as an insult to Green Party leader Ricarda Lang. “In my free speech, I used formulations that could possibly be misunderstood,” said the minister on Saturday.

He wanted to make it clear that it was not his intention to discredit or even offend people, parties or institutions. “If people still feel hurt because of my statements, I apologize and will not repeat statements of this kind.”

According to a report in the “Schweriner Volkszeitung” on Saturday, Backhaus was said to have made disparaging remarks about Lang in his speech on Thursday at the North German Nutrition Summit. Accordingly, he is said to have said in connection with the politician that Dick and Doof used to be two people.

A spokesman for the minister did not deny the quote on Saturday when asked. However, he said that the statement was marked as a quote and that the minister emphasized in his speech that it was not meant to be his position and was not meant to be disrespectful.

According to his ministry on Saturday evening, Backhaus personally apologized to Lang for his statements in a message. In the letter, the minister “expresses his hope that Ms. Lang will accept his apology and may even be willing to meet in person.”

The state chairman of the Greens in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Ole Krüger, had previously demanded a written apology from Backhaus at Lang. Krüger called the minister’s statements “absolutely unacceptable”. Personal attacks and insults are unworthy of a man of his function.