June 28, 2022
Nursing staff involved in vaccination against the Covid-19 coronavirus pose for a portrait of Goddess Durga at Ramayah Hospital in Bangalore, India, Photo: MANJUNATH KIRAN / AFP

‘Paris without the Eiffel Tower’: Merkel receives a warm welcome from her last European dome

Brussels – German Chancellor Angela Merkel A standing ovation was given by EU leaders last Friday, at the end of a Brussels Summit Which was his 107th and last, after 16 years in power. Merkel – who will leave the government once the new coalition resulting from Germany’s parliamentary elections in September becomes official – was also honored by former US President Barack Obama, who paid tribute to her in a recorded video.

– A European Council without Angela Merkel is like Rome without the Vatican or Paris without the Eiffel Tower – the head of the body that brings together the leaders of the bloc, Charles Michel, told the chancellor, whom he called a “monument”, a “compass of the European project”. Your farewell to the European scene affects us politically and fills us with emotion.

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The President of the Council of Europe also posted, on Twitter, a video of the German chancellor’s best moments at European summits since 2005, and another video of former US President Barack Obama lovingly bidding farewell to Merkel.

“I was fortunate to become her friend as I watched her exercise her sense of humor, wise pragmatism, and firm moral conviction as she made difficult decisions over many years,” Obama said in the video.

Before the work began, the 27 heads of state and government of the European Union also presented Merkel with a farewell gift – a work by the young French-Dutch designer Maxime Duterte representing the Council Building – and took the opportunity to express their regret. • His lack of diplomatic skills in calming spirits and reaching compromises in thorny matters.

“Merkel was a deal-making machine,” Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said. “A lot of times, when we couldn’t move forward on a case, Angela always found something that would bring us together, allowing us to move forward.

Her Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg added that Merkel’s exit from the scene “will leave a huge void, because she has been in office for a long time and has had a significant impact on the development of the European Union.”

“It was a haven of peace within the European Union,” he said.

Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonet said the German chancellor was “a great policy and was a necessary factor in stabilizing difficult situations,” expressing her “great respect” for Merkel.

– She is a woman who has truly distinguished Europe for 16 years and helped us, 27 [países do bloco], to make the right decisions with a lot of humanity in difficult times – said the Belgian Prime Minister, Alexandre de Croo.

After Merkel

At the head of the continent’s largest economic power, Angela Merkel has been criticized for Berlin’s stance during the eurozone crisis in the wake of the 2008-2009 global financial meltdown, but has been praised for her response to the 2015 migration crisis and for changing and accepting Germany’s traditional stance. Issuance of the European joint debt to finance the recovery package from the effects of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Over the past 16 years, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) adviser has also demonstrated a pragmatism that is credited with keeping the EU united, despite criticism for what may be an overly lenient attitude towards ultra-nationalist nation-state governments such as. Poland and Hungary.

The current crisis caused by Warsaw’s refusal to accept the decisions of the European Court of Justice was the background to the summit, but nothing was announced about it. Merkel said in an interview that the issue required a political decision, not a legal one.

“If you look at Polish history, it is understandable that the question of their national identity plays a big role, which is a different historical situation than countries that have been democratic since World War II,” she said.

Another issue dividing the bloc, a common immigration policy, was also under discussion. European Commission President Ursula von de Leyen said the EU will not fund the construction of walls to deter migrants, as some eastern countries have called for it.

“It is a time when there is cause for concern,” the German chancellor said. We have overcome many crises but we have a series of unresolved problems.

Markel had already announced in 2018 that he would leave the government at the end of his current term. After the CDU’s defeat in the September elections, the new government is set to be led by Olaf Schulz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD).

The Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals, who are negotiating the new coalition, on Thursday released a timetable that, if adhered to, would allow Schulz to take over as prime minister in early December.

The retirement of 67-year-old Angela Merkel raises the fear of a vacuum within the European Union, as it faces projects critical to its survival: post-Covid-19 economic reconstruction, climate change, or even an assertion of its geopolitical role in the United States and China.