Friday

23rd Feb 2018

Birthday tributes display Merkel's power

  • EU leaders gave Merkel a football tshirt with all their signatures on it (Photo: Council of European Union)

The celebration began on Wednesday evening during an EU summit: a box of Belgian pralines (that she won't touch given her diet); a bunch of flowers; champagne; and a German football shirt signed by all EU leaders.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned 60 on Thursday (17 July), but kept her cool, no-frills attitude towards the wave of tributes.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

During a press conference after the EU summit, a German journalist sang an awkward "Happy Birthday, dear Bundeskanzlerin" to which she replied: "Maybe I should have sung along, it would have sounded better. But thank you."

Germany's largest-selling tabloid, Bild, recorded a version of an old folk song - "We love the storms" - sung by several politicians and pop stars in her honour and published Merkel portraits drawn by readers.

Later on, in Berlin, she invited some 1,000 guests to a history lecture rather than a glamorous party to mark her birthday.

With unmatched popularity rates and the status of the longest-serving and most powerful of EU leaders, Merkel has achieved remarkable success after starting out as a scientist in the then East Germany.

A Forsa poll on Wednesday showed that after more than eight years in power, 59 percent of Germans would vote for her rather than for her Social-Democrat rival and vice-chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel (14 percent).

An Infratest dimap poll earlier this month said 71 percent of Germans were happy or very happy with her work.

Meanwhile, speculation she might step down before the end of her current term to take up an international top post - the presidency of the EU council or the United Nations - re-emerged earlier this month.

Der Spiegel magasine quoted unnamed sources in her entourage saying she would rather step down while popular than to be forced out of office like her mentors and predecessors, Helmut Kohl and Konrad Adenauer.

Her spokesman denied it and said she plans to see out her term, which ends in 2017.

For his part, Kohl - the architect of German reunification, who in 1999 had to step down in a party funding scandal which saw Merkel distance herself from him - urged her to remain committed to the European project.

In an open letter published also in Bild, the 84-year old Kohl said it is thanks to German reunification that Merkel had "completely new chances in a free Germany which you used and which brought you to the helm of our country".

He urged Merkel to "stick to a united Europe, continue political unification, and stand for the stability" in Europe and the eurozone.

Merkel to become next German chancellor

Angela Merkel is set to become the first female chancellor in German history following a deal for a "grand coalition" struck on Monday. The agreement leaves the social democrat with key ministries – but current chancellor Gerhard Schroder is likely to leave the German political scene.

Poland shows no sign of concessions to Commission

While the dialogue between Warsaw and the Commission has improved since new prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki entered office, there is no sign of compromise over rule of law concerns - as the clock ticks towards a March deadline.

Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress

Italians, Czechs and Latvians perceive less corruption than a few years ago in Transparency International's annual ranking. The Berlin-based NGO said Finland was a 'worrying case', whilst Bulgaria - which holds the EU presidency - is EU's most corrupt.

News in Brief

  1. Report: EU to increase sanctions on Myanmar
  2. Juncker 'worried' by Italian elections
  3. EU migration to UK at lowest since 2012
  4. MEP Andrieu will chair parliament pesticide committee
  5. Juncker's right-hand man warns of 'institutional blockage'
  6. Greek parliament to open probe on PMs and EU commissioner
  7. May gathers Brexit ministers to hammer out UK position
  8. Tajani asks Juncker for all EMA Brexit relocation documents

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSUMovie Premiere: 'Up to The Last Drop' - 22 February, Brussels
  2. Aid & Trade LondonJoin Thousands of Stakeholders of the Global Aid Industry at Aid & Trade London
  3. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.European Free Alliance Joins MHRMI to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism Year to Promote Business and Mutual Ties
  5. European Jewish CongressAt “An End to Antisemitism!” Conference, Dr. Kantor Calls for Ambitious Solutions
  6. UNESDAA Year Ago UNESDA Members Pledged to Reduce Added Sugars in Soft Drinks by 10%
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsUzbekistan: Investigate Torture of Journalist
  8. CESICESI@Noon on ‘Digitalisation & Future of Work: Social Protection For All?’ - March 7
  9. UNICEFExecutive Director's Committment to Tackling Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region 2018: Facts, Figures and Rankings of the 74 Regions
  11. Mission of China to the EUDigital Economy Shaping China's Future, Over 30% of GDP
  12. Macedonian Human Rights Movement Int.Suing the Governments of Macedonia and Greece for Changing Macedonia's Name

Latest News

  1. EU leaders to kick off post-Brexit budget debate
  2. Greek government's steady steps to exit bailout programme
  3. Frontex: Europe's new law enforcement agency?
  4. Poland and Greece broke EU environment laws, rules court
  5. Dutch MPs vote on ending 'Ukraine-type' referendums
  6. Corruption report: Hungary gets worse, Italy makes progress
  7. UK seeks flexible transition length after Brexit
  8. Commission defence of Barroso meeting leaves 'discrepancies'