Thursday

1st Oct 2020

Merkel shows softer side on Italian holiday

  • Angela Merkel is a regular customer at Hotel Miramare (Photo: Hotel Miramare)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel - for many the incarnation of EU austerity and German rigour - has shown her softer side by visiting a waiter who lost his job.

She paid the surprise visit to the home of Cristoforo Iacono, a former head waiter at a hotel where Merkel and her family are regular customers, while on her Easter holidays in Italy.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Yes, she came to our house to see him and stayed over for lunch. Merkel has known my father for a lifetime, we are so happy to have had her in our home," Iacono's daughter, Marianna, told Italian daily La Stampa.

Iacono has known her for decades, long before she became the most powerful leader in Europe.

Eight years into her chancellorship Merkel has grown skilled in avoiding the paparazzi.

She reportedly went to Iacono's home while on a hiking trip in the surrounding mountains with her husband last Saturday (30 March).

Whether or not Merkel deserves the criticism aimed at her over her handling of the eurozone crisis, Italy's populist politicians are among those who blame her for their country's problems.

Regional governor Stefano Caldaro, while welcoming Merkel in the seaside resort of Ischia, also urged her in a video message to pay attention to areas with the highest unemployment rates.

He noted that for every German without a job, there are 10 unemployed people in his region.

Fresh unemployment figures published by the European Commission on Tuesday showed a growing divide between Germany and southern nations, with record highs in Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Merkel is set to stay on in Ischia until Friday together with her husband, Joachim Sauer, as well as Sauer's son from a previous marriage, his wife and two children.

Visual Data

Coronavirus: Will a second wave divide Europe again?

Experts are now warning of the "very serious" surge in Covid-19 cases in Europe - where new weekly cases exceede those reported in March. The worst-hit countries are Spain and France - while Italy is resisting the much-feared second wave.

EU to have first-ever anti-racism coordinator

The European Commission is set to unveil an action plan to fight racism - which will address gaps in existing legislation and extend the list of EU crimes to all forms of hate crime and hate speech.

News in Brief

  1. Czechs appeal to EU commission over Poland's illegal mining
  2. Commission: EU does not finance Italy's 'contraband' warship
  3. EU expects US data-privacy breakthrough
  4. UK offers EU fishermen three years' access
  5. China closer to EU than US on climate, Merkel says
  6. Czechs and Slovaks declare second-wave 'emergency'
  7. Merkel to meet Belarus opposition head
  8. Finnish PM to stand in for Sweden at summit

Opinion

Why so few women in EU missions?

Angela Merkel is only the seventh woman to chair the Council of the European Union's meetings. And in 2020 there is no woman leading any of the current 11 European civilian missions (let alone the six military operations).

Opinion

On toppling statues

The internationally-acclaimed author of King Leopold's Ghost, Adam Hochschild, writes on Belgium's problems with statues, in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. Corruption failures also highlighted in rule of law report
  2. Unsung hero: Portugal showing EU way on migration
  3. Celebrate with us. EUobserver's 20 years of independent EU news
  4. Ban on Catalan leader condemned as 'disproportionate'
  5. EU defends Jourova over Hungary's resignation demand
  6. A 'geopolitical' EU Commission. Great idea - but when?
  7. The EU's new rule of law report - pushing at an open door?
  8. EU tries to avoid lockdowns as global death toll reaches 1m

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us