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German EU official criticised over derogatory remarks

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Mr Oettinger has insisted he has nothing against gay marriage

Mr Oettinger has insisted he has nothing against gay marriage

Mr Oettinger has insisted he has nothing against gay marriage

Germany's representative on the European Union's executive is facing criticism for appearing to make a derogatory reference to Chinese people and mocking gay marriage.

Guenther Oettinger, a member of chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party, referred to "slanty eyes" in a speech that surfaced on YouTube over the weekend.

He also said: "The German agenda doesn't in any way do justice to my expectations of German responsibility," and made a reference to "obligatory gay marriage" alongside actual government initiatives.

Asked whether her government has confidence in Mr Oettinger, Angela Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert replied: "Yes, of course."

Mr Oettinger told Die Welt his "somewhat casual comment" was not meant to be disrespectful to China, and insisted he has nothing against gay marriage.

However, the minister for families, Manuela Schwesig, told Nordwest-Zeitung that Mr Oettinger's comments were "racist and homophobic".

PA