Merkel’s last summer press conference: someone has to imitate her first


Status: 07/22/2021 7:48 p.m.

Merkel’s appearance at the annual summer press conference in Berlin shows once again that the footsteps she is leaving behind are great – despite her not always groundbreaking policies.

A comment by Franka Welz, ARD Capital Studio

Angela Merkel will be missing. Not necessarily because she would have made pioneering politics at any time, but because she has the virtues that everyone with ambitions should bring to the Chancellery.

First: Equipped with sufficient scientific understanding – said Merkel about Merkel – to recognize whether a political approach is sufficient to achieve the necessary goals. With regard to the fight against climate change, the scientist judges coolly: it is not enough and it does not go fast enough.

In addition to the ability to analyze and reflect, secondly: honesty and the sovereignty to change your own opinion well-founded. This is what Merkel did after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, when she initiated the abandonment of nuclear energy and thus the energy transition.

The Merkel scandal did not materialize

Third – very important – surefootedness. In all the years in office, the big Merkel scandal never happened, and certainly not because no one would have looked for it. She has never tried to make herself bigger than she is, but has grown with her tasks. Jokes about toilets for the third gender or laughing heartily at the most inopportune of all possible moments for all to see, would have never happened to Angela Merkel, never happened to her and in all probability never will happen to her.

Fourth: humanity and empathy. In view of the recent crises that hit the country, this additional dimension has been added to Merkel’s unpretentious, sober, scientific approach. Merkel does not human, she acts deeply human, shows interest, compassion and respect for those she meets.

Most recently during her visits to the areas affected by the flood disaster, before that at the height of the corona pandemic. When the chancellor, who often seemed so brittle, openly showed how close she was to the suffering caused by the crisis.

A feeling for social majorities

Also in 2015, when she accepted stranded people in Germany with no ifs and buts in view of the humanitarian misery in Hungary. Although she had to know that she was taking a risk domestically and that many in her own party were uncomfortable with this decision, to put it mildly.

Merkel also demonstrated character, point five, in dealing with the coalition partners. Instead of dominating or humiliating the others at all costs, she gave space and often demonstrated a feeling for social majorities. Keyword marriage for everyone – here Merkel did not resist something just because it did not correspond to her own convictions, but instead showed greatness.

Those who want to inherit it have to imitate all of this first. The steps in her policy may have been too small for some, but the footsteps that Merkel is leaving are huge.

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