German Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier received a curious gift from his Romanian counterpart Bogdan Aurescu during his trip to Bucharest on Monday: a brochure on which the flags of Romania and Germany stood side by side - but while the Romanian flag was printed on a map of Romania, that of Germany was printed on a map of... France. The Romanian minister felt compelled to send the deepest regrets for the blunder personally to Steinmeier, who played down the incident.
The initiative for the handing of the brochure belonged to Romanian public news agency Agerpres. The agency said it was a technical mistake on its behalf, as th brochure was printed in only one sample - the one handed to the German official. Agerpres said that while a correct version of the brochure - with a map of Germany on it - had been sent to the Romanian Foreign Ministry prior to the meeting, it was mistakenly printed in a wrong version by the news agency.
The document was produced to mark the anniversary of 135 years of bilateral diplomatic relations. Minister Aurescu handed it personally to Steinmeier during a conference - with Steinmeier seemingly unaware of the blunder as he showed the brochure to journalists.
Later on Monday, the Romanian Foreign Ministery announced minister Aurescu personally sent Steinmeier his deep regret about the situation. But the German official replied that he would not see the situation as capable to have any effect on bilateral relations and that the blunder had not even been noticed until the Romanian minister signaled it.