The German government has splashed out almost €55,000 on former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s hair and makeup since she left office in 2021.
Despite departing Germany’s top job almost two years ago, Merkel is still billing the federal government for several expenses, according to documents obtained by Tagesspiegel via a Freedom of Information Act request.
Merkel, according to a previous Tagesspiegel report, did not retain her longtime former makeup artist, but now relies on a new self-employed hair and makeup artist, who also works as a fashion designer, based in Berlin. The chancellery pays for Merkel’s hair and makeup for both public and private engagements. So far she has racked up a €17,200 bill in 2023, in addition to a €37,780 bill in 2022.
“The assumption of costs is linked to the performance of continuing official duties — regardless of whether they are public or non-public,” the German chancellery told Tagesspiegel.
Rising costs of officials’ hair and makeup services have sparked some criticism in the past, with The Taxpayers’ Association’s President Reiner Holznagel saying costs should be “reduced to the bare minimum and, in case of doubt, paid privately.”
Current German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also does not spare expenses for his public outings, reported Tagesspiegel. So far this year, representatives of the chancellery have spent €21,808 on hairstyle and makeup expenses, while the number reached €39,910 in 2022.
Numbers from a parliamentary inquiry earlier this year had shown that spending on photographers, hairdressers, and makeup artists rose to around €1.5 million in the first full year of Scholz’s government in 2022. That was nearly 80 percent more than in 2021, the last year of Merkel’s government.
Last week, Bavaria’s state leader Markus Söder made headlines when it was reported that his office had splurged nearly €180,000 on freelance photographers in 2022 alone. This was in addition to €36,000 a year for a permanently employed photographer.
The state chancellery said it hires photographers “on an occasion-related basis at an agreed hourly or daily rate … The images were for press and public relations purposes and for documentation.”