German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday played down a security breach that allowed an unknown man to approach and embrace him on the tarmac at Frankfurt Airport.
Asked about the incident during a press conference in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, Scholz said, “Giving greetings and being welcomed by people is never something that particularly affects me.”
“It’s very normal, and I didn’t find this situation surprising either,” Schultz said of the sudden encounter with the unidentified man on Wednesday night.
But the security errors that allowed a stranger to approach Schulz unhindered caused panic among those responsible for the German chancellor’s personal protection.
The man driving a dark Audi successfully joined Schulz’s motorcade on his way to Frankfurt Airport after attending an event at the European Central Bank marking its 25th anniversary.
After passing airport security, the stranger got out of his car, shook Schultz’s hand, and put his arms around him.
On the sidelines of a meeting with her Czech counterpart on the border between the two countries, Interior Minister Nancy Vizer said, “An accident like this should not be allowed to happen,” noting that work is underway to identify errors to avoid them in the future.
The Federal Criminal Police Office is usually responsible for the security of the adviser, while the regional police were also providing support Wednesday.
Schulz defended the work done by those responsible for his protection, saying, “The police are doing a good job, and I feel safe.”
The Ministry of the Interior announced that an investigation had been launched into the man who approached the counselor to assess whether there was any criminal suspicion.
Der Spiegel reported that the adviser’s security guards did not notice the breach immediately, and the man had plenty of time to return to his car and light a cigarette before he was arrested.
According to the magazine, the drug test conducted on the man was positive.