German politician switches words around in ministry names for €26,000
As one of his first acts in office, Armin Laschet, the newly-elected President of North Rhine-Westphalia representing the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, has renamed all 12 government ministries under his jurisdiction, die Zeit reported.
The old Justice Ministry (Justizministerium) has been rechristened the Ministry of Justice (Ministerium der Justiz), while the Finance Ministry (Finanzministerium) has become the Ministry of Finance (Ministerium der Finanzen), amongst other changes.
Nothing has changed about the running of the ministries, but the renaming process will cost taxpayers dearly. Envelopes, invitations and other documents will cost around €15,000 to re-do, while updating signs and telephone directories will take €4,500. New stamps and seals will cost €3,950 and the remaining €2,150 will be taken up by refitting press materials.
On Monday, Laschet replied to formal questions submitted by opposition politician Stefan Zimkeit of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) about the point of renaming the ministries.
“The naming of the ministries is based on name designation on the federal level,” Laschet wrote, also admitting that these new changes would have no effect on the efficiency of the ministries.
“We are not dealing with questions of efficiency," he said. “This measure is not an element of the efforts of the state government to profoundly reduce bureaucracy.”
An article in Der Spiegel compares the situation to the bitter split between the Judean Popular People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian.”