The war in Ukraine, climate change, UN reform: these are topics that the Chancellor will be addressing at the United Nations in the next few days. He is accompanied on his trip by a rare guest.
Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) set off for the general debate at the UN General Assembly in New York on Sunday afternoon with his wife Britta Ernst.
It is only the second business trip that the couple has undertaken together in the SPD politician’s almost two-year term in office. In New York, Scholz will focus on the fight against climate change, supporting Ukraine in the war against the Russian attackers and reforming the UN institutions over the next three days.
3 minutes and 20 seconds speaking time
On Tuesday, Scholz will speak for 15 minutes before the UN General Assembly. On Wednesday he will be present at the United Nations Security Council meeting on the war in Ukraine. The speaking time there is much shorter: 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
It is likely that Scholz will also meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in New York. The two will receive the Atlantic Council’s Global Citizen Award on Wednesday evening.
Scholz and Ernst: Together at the anniversary reception and award ceremony
Ernst has only been on her husband’s business trip once since he became Chancellor. In May she accompanied him to the G7 summit in Hiroshima in Japan and South Korea. These meetings of the heads of state and government of leading democratic economic powers also have an official partner program, which is not the case at the United Nations. Nevertheless, some participants come to the UN accompanied by their wives or husbands.
Ernst will attend several appointments with Scholz in New York. The two will take part in a ceremony marking Germany’s 50th anniversary of UN membership, a reception hosted by US President Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden, and the awards ceremony on Wednesday. Ernst is also invited to a reception by Jill Biden for the partners of the heads of state and government who have traveled with him.
Like Scholz, the 62-year-old is an SPD politician and was education minister in Brandenburg until a few months ago. In mid-April she resigned due to a lack of support for her policies within her own ranks. Scholz and Ernst have been married for almost 25 years and are celebrating their silver wedding anniversary in December.
Scholz’s second speech in the UN general debate – more than Merkel
Ernst will also be there when her husband speaks at the UN General Assembly. It is the Chancellor’s second speech to the representatives of the 193 member states of the United Nations. That’s more than his predecessor Angela Merkel achieved in 16 years. The CDU politician only appeared once in the general debate in 2007 and otherwise let her foreign ministers go first.
Tickets start at $2,500 for the awards ceremony with Scholz
For Scholz, the trip will conclude on Wednesday with the presentation of the Global Citizen Award, which is presented every year during the UN general debate to personalities “who have contributed to driving positive changes in their societies and who embody the commitment to international cooperation “.
This time, in addition to Scholz and Zelensky, the award winners include Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and the head of the First Eastern Investment Group, Victor Chu. The cheapest tickets for the awards dinner cost 2,500 US dollars (2,336 euros).
Chancellor in New York for only the second time
Until a year ago, what the pop star Udo Jürgens sang about in the early 80s still applied to Scholz: “I’ve never been to New York.” The Chancellor now knows at least a little about the city beyond the UN building on the East River. On his first visit in September 2022, best-selling author Daniel Kehlmann (“Measuring the World”), who lived in Manhattan for years, showed him the city on a walk.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.