A court in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Germany will consider whether the original bill from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s June 2006 barbecue with then US President George W. Bush has to be made public.
Dubbed by the German media as the “world’s most expensive barbecue”, the event is reported to have cost a ludicrous €8.7 million.
The plaintiff in the case, who is currently serving a jail sentence for bank robbery, filed his request under the state’s freedom of information law.
“It is fairly far-reaching,” said Stefan Schulz, the plaintiff’s lawyer.
“Officials can only refuse to release information if it would pose a danger to the state or to a third party.”
He added he was optimistic that the ruling would be in favour of his client, who will not be appearing in court.
The overall cost of the extravagant barbecue in Trinwillershagen – where the then US President Bush feasted on wild boar after sightseeing along the Baltic Coast - has already been made public.
After a formal request from Germany’s National Democratic Party (NPD), the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania state Interior Ministry reported in 2007 and 2008 that the visit had cost €8.7 million. Other German states paid around €5.7 million to send police officers to the event.
However, the plaintiff has said he wants to see original documentation detailing the exact costs.
The data protection commissioner of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Karsten Neumann, said the request for the cost breakdown would get his support, saying that he considered a previous denial by the authorities as “ludicrous”.
Justice officials had justified their denial by saying releasing an exact cost breakdown would allow the public to infer how many security personnel had been brought in from other states and, therefore, had not been present in their own jurisdictions.
In total, approximately 12,000 police officers were called into service to provide security for the 36-hour presidential visit.View Comments