Against the background of the personnel quarrels in Robert Habeck's Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Supervisory Board of the German Energy Agency (Dena) is re-advertising the top post of the federal company. This was decided by the supervisory body on Friday by mutual agreement, as the Energy Agency in Berlin announced.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), who was called upon by the CDU to intervene, is counting on Habeck. "He has said that decisions that have gone wrong and are open to criticism must be corrected. That's what happened," he said on his trip to Africa in Nairobi, Kenya. "And I expect that everything else will also be done according to the rules that we have." Habeck (Greens), on the other hand, continues to hold on to his controversial state secretary Patrick Graichen.

Selection committee to be broadened

The reason for the new tender is that the new managing director Michael Schäfer, who was actually intended, is best man of State Secretary Patrick Graichen. Graichen, however, sat on a search committee that Schäfer had proposed for the post. Schäfer is now no longer likely to become Dena's boss. He was supposed to take office on 15 June.

The search committee should now be set up more broadly, Dena further announced. It should be ensured on an ongoing basis that there are no actual or potential conflicts of interest of any kind among its members.

Graichen's private connections to Schäfer had recently made big waves. The CDU/CSU and the Left Party called for Graichen's resignation as state secretary, and CDU general secretary Mario Czaja even questioned the integrity of Minister Habeck because of his personnel policy. Politicians from the coalition partner FDP and from the opposition appealed to Habeck to clarify personnel matters in his area of responsibility. Graichen and Habeck spoke of a mistake, but Habeck stood behind his state secretary.

When asked whether Graichen could be sure that he would keep his post, a spokeswoman for the ministry in Berlin replied: "Minister Habeck has made a clear statement about this last week, and that applies."

Many personal ties in the Ministry of Economic Affairs

In addition to Graichen's involvement in filling the Dena post, other personal ties in the Ministry of Economics had also come under criticism. Two of Habeck's high-ranking employees have family ties to the Oeko-Institut, a research institution that receives contracts from the federal government. State Secretary Graichen's sister, Verena Graichen, works for the nature conservation organisation BUND and, like another brother, for the Oeko-Institut. Verena Graichen, in turn, is married to the parliamentary state secretary for economic affairs, Michael Kellner (Greens).

The ministry had already announced in April that Graichen would not be involved in procurement procedures for which BUND and the Oeko-Institut could apply, as well as the think tank Agora Energiewende, which Graichen headed until he moved to the ministry. A spokeswoman said that the ministry had published lists on Thursday evening concerning orders and grants to the Oeko-Institut. According to her, most of the projects already existed before the traffic light government. Corresponding lists on Agora and the BUND will also be published soon.

Habeck said that admitting mistakes and healing them also means that elsewhere, where no mistakes have happened, the strength to differentiate must be applied. The "people" who secured energy policy last year and who pushed ahead with the expansion of renewable energies should be protected from "false insinuations".