ZAGREB: Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman sparked controversy on Friday after his attempt to kiss his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock while posing for a group photo in Berlin went viral online.
The video shows Radman, 65, reaching out to Baerbock to shake her hand and trying to kiss her on the cheek at a photoshoot during an EU conference Thursday, while the German foreign affairs minister dodges his affections.
The gesture drew fierce debate on social media and sparked outrage from feminist groups, but Grlic Radman shrugged off the criticism.
"I don't know what the problem was... We always greet each other warmly. It is a warm human approach to a colleague", he told reporters.
However, prominent Croatian women's rights activist Rada Boric slammed the minister's move as "highly inappropriate", adding that "warm greetings" should happen only among those whose relationship allows kissing.
"It's clear that such a relationship doesn't exist here and that the (German) minister was left surprised with such closeness," Boric told the Jutarnji List outlet.
Former Croatian prime minister Jadranka Kosor also took to social media to criticise Grlic Radman.
"Violent kissing of women is also called violence, is it not?," Kosor wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.