Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic-Radman has faced criticism and ridicule after he attempted to kiss his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock on the cheek during a group photo at an EU conference in Berlin.
The video of the awkward encounter, which took place on Thursday, went viral on social media and sparked a debate on diplomatic etiquette and gender respect.
Grlic-Radman, 65, reached out to Baerbock, 41, to shake her hand and then leaned in to kiss her on the cheek, while the German foreign minister dodged his affections and turned her head away.
The gesture was seen as inappropriate and disrespectful by many observers, especially since Baerbock is the first woman to hold the post of German foreign minister.
Grlic-Radman, however, shrugged off the criticism and defended his gesture as a sign of friendship and warmth.
He also said that he had a good relationship with Baerbock and that they had discussed various issues of mutual interest during the conference.
The incident has highlighted the cultural differences and sensitivities among the EU member states, as well as the need for more awareness and respect for women in positions of power.