I've just discovered on Der Spiegel's English-language pages that there's currently some sort of controversy taking place due to the insistence of Guido Westerwelle, Germany's new Foreign Minister, on answering a press conference question in German. Below is the video of said incident.
Supposedly the events shown above have unleashed a wave of sarcasm and derision at Mr. Westerwelle's expense, but I really can't see what is problematic about his statements: on the contrary, I think the opposite is true, and it is the British journalist who ought to be ashamed for arrogantly expecting Germany's Foreign Minister, speaking in Germany, to cater to the journalist's linguistic ignorance, as if Westerwelle were a local tribal chief reporting to a colonial overlord. Furthermore, there are genuine reasons of statecraft which justify Westerwelle's position; international politics is a field in which even small misunderstandings can lead to severe consequences, and however skilled in English a German politicians or diplomats may be, they will almost always be more fluent in their own language. As such, to conduct any dealings of state in a foreign language is usually a mistake, unless one happens to be an ambassador or a statesman uttering a few words just for rhetorical effect (e.g. "Ich bin ein Berliner").
I can understand to a certain extent why so many Germans should think there's something odd about what Westerwelle said: part of it has to do with the pride many Germans take in their English-language abilities, and another aspect is that semi-instinctive opposition to any form of national self-assertion stemming from Germany's 20th century history. Still, historical issues notwithstanding, I imagine that most Germans would like their Foreign Minister to conduct his duties to Germany's benefit in as far as possible, and that is best done by speaking the language he knows best, not by pandering to a dumb foreign journalist (and on the journalistic side, one has to wonder who was dumb enough to send to such an important country a representative without the linguistic skills or basic modicum of sensitivity to do his job in the native language). Deutsche! Dr. Westerwelle war völlig korrekt!
Going by the evidence of the following clip, Westerwelle's English seems perfectly fine. He does pause quite a bit to think, but then again, he's no worse in this respect than a certain recent former US President, and unlike said (supposedly native English-speaking) President, Westerwelle's response actually makes complete sense.