EU chief apologises for jokes about Chinese people and gays

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BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 26: European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger speaks at a press conference following talks with Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan over the future of Russian natural gas deliveries to Ukraine on September 26, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. The three parties seemed to have made progress in today's talks on setting prices for future gas deliveries to Ukraine and other aspects of the disagreements, though negotiations are set to continue. Gazprom, the Russian company that supplies Ukraine with much of its natural gas, raised prices dramatically following the ouster of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich earlier this year, and since then the two nations have been in a bitter dispute over the deliveries that have been antagonized by Russian support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

A European Commissioner has issued a formal apology for joking that in a few years gay marriage will be mandatory in Germany (which is declared as the queerest European country according to the latest research)

“The German agenda has mandatory pensions, retirement as 63, child care allowance, the silly Autobahn toll that will never be introduced… after that, perhaps the obligatory homosexual marriage will be introduced! The German agenda does not fulfil my expectations of German responsibility at all,” he had claimed. He also had referred to Chinese people as ‘slit-eyes’ but the cameras had not caught this.

The Commissioner said his words to be taken out of context, but he published a formal apology: “I had time to reflect on my speech, and I can now see that the words I used have created bad feelings and may even have hurt people. This was not my intention and I would like to apologise for any remark that was not as respectful as it should have been,” he stated, “I was frank and open – it was not a speech read-out, but ‘frei von der Leber’ [improvised] as we say in German. My message was to give a wake-up call to the German audience: if the Germans focus their political work on reducing the retirement age, increasing pensions etc., no-one should be surprised if we lose the global battle for competitiveness. The same goes for Europe as a whole. We need to double our efforts and not take a nap and rest on the sofa. We need to set the right priorities – in a democratic and balanced way. In my speech I had chosen some examples (and once again my apologies if my words caused negative feelings.)”. He insisted: “I have great respect for the dynamics of the Chinese economy – China is a partner and a tough competitor. Therefore we need a level playing field where Chinese companies can buy European ones and European companies can buy Chinese ones. It is important to have that access on both sides – and I see room for improvement here.”

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