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Chancellor Angela Merkel takes stock: We are a strong country | free press

Angela Merkel has now appeared in the federal press conference a total of 29 times during her time as chancellor. For 16 years in office, that’s not much – the capital’s association of journalists has often regretted that the chancellor rarely answered their questions. At the end of the event, host Corinna Buschow will host another…

Angela Merkel has now appeared in the federal press conference a total of 29 times during her time as chancellor. For 16 years in office, that’s not much – the capital’s association of journalists has often regretted that the chancellor rarely answered their questions. At the end of the event, host Corinna Buschow will make another attempt by offering Merkel that “of all good things, there may turn out to be 30 in the end”. But it’s becoming clear that this Thursday’s performance was her last.

That makes her “happy too,” says the woman, who returned from the US last Friday in time for her 67th birthday to travel to the Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia floodplains immediately afterwards. She likes to carefully prepare for surprising questions. What annoys the chancellor is the repetition of the same. When asked several times about her future plans, Merkel refers to the answer she gave in America last week. When John Hopkins University awarded her another honorary degree, she said, “I’m going to take a break and think about what interests me — I’ve been short on time for the past 16 years.”

It would have been a waste of time from their point of view to give the phrase again to the best. In any case, she mentions the greater ‘desire for efficiency’ that often distinguishes female politicians from politicians from their point of view. Wasted time – in retrospect it seems to annoy her as the political goodbye draws closer. For example, the permanent blockade of a common EU asylum policy, which she describes as a “heavy burden” on the future of Europe. “My last serious mistake was the Easter rest”, Angela Merkel says self-critically, because by withdrawing the extra planned Corona holiday, the pandemic control has now suffered a serious setback in the spring: “That is still etched in my memory.”

The category of undue delays, which the Chancellor regretted in retrospect, also includes the first major climate protection agreement, whose Kyoto Protocol sets binding targets for CO2 emissions under international law. “I stayed with Kyoto for a very long time,” Merkel says: “That was a mistake.” Because many countries, especially the US, rejected the commitment and preferred to make voluntary contributions to limit global warming. The chancellor wonders whether an earlier change of course would have led to the global climate agreement, which was finally signed in Paris in 2015.

Climate protection in general, after the devastating flood, discussed even more sharply than it already was. The head of government, once dubbed “Climate Chancellor”, now has to answer to the federal press conference that not enough has happened during her tenure. Merkel does not want to let it go, even though the physicist in her knows that given the scientific findings it “cannot go on at this rate”. But it is important for her to emphasize that “my political life has been marked by action on climate change” since she became federal environment minister in 1994, that she has put “a significant amount of effort” into the fight against global warming and, in this connection, “many on the international scene Disappointments” and put away again. One should also “don’t act as if nothing happened”.

Angela Merkel is emphatically protecting her successor at the top of the CDU on this day. She sees “no zigzag course” with Chancellor Armin Laschet, nor a lack of knowledge of science or exponential corona growth. Merkel also does not share the widely expressed accusation that the measures in the CDU and CSU election manifestos could not comply with the Paris climate agreement. The realization and implementation of the clearly formulated goals will be the subject of the coalition negotiations after the elections. That will be the time when the chancellor is newly in office. She wants to fill it in until the last day, “business as usual” until the end. The same goes for this press conference. The expectation of some journalistic colleagues that another historic phrase like “We can do it” or that a political legacy could be proclaimed has been misled. Merkel continues to work.

During this time, others must take stock of their chancellorship. At least that’s what Merkel says. However, she already wants to counteract the impression created by the pandemic that many things in the Federal Republic no longer want to work properly. The start of the vaccination campaign, digitization, now disaster relief – the key words are known. “We are a strong country,” the chancellor said, “even with good governance.” But they have to “do in a few places to maintain the high standard.” But she doesn’t want to be bad-mouthed about Germany or her own special role at the top. “What you’re missing,” the Chancellor said earlier, “don’t notice until you don’t have it.” So maybe this last appearance in the federal press conference, at the end of which Angela Merkel said, “It was my pleasure.”

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