'Niebel System' prompts criticism in Germany

Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel. Photo by: Janwikifoto / CC BY-SA

Germany’s aid minister has been in the hot seat lately, but — at least in public — he retains one crucial ally: Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel has been taking heat for appointing members of the Free Democratic Party to key positions within the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, or BMZ. Some observers say he’s turning BMZ into a subsidiary of his political party; others have dubbed it the “Niebel System.”

Most recently, Niebel latched on a reporter from die tageszeitung, a left-leaning German daily, who asked about his agency’s hiring record.

But Merkel, who leads the conservative Christian Democratic Union party, the ruling coalition’s majority partner, shrugged off the criticisms against the aid minister. BMZ is an independent ministry and Niebel is free to appoint his own people, Merkel has said, according to Spiegel Online.

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About the author

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.