Reading, sleeping and writing her memoirs: the new life of former Chancellor Merkel | International


They have asked her many times in recent months, and she has barely released a pledge: What is Angela Merkel going to do after leaving the German Chancellery, which has occupied 16 years? In September he acknowledged that since entering politics he had not had a free minute to decide what he was going to do next. He said it in a meeting with the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the same one in which he first confessed: “Yes, I am a feminist”, after having avoided speaking out during his three decades in public office. “I have turned 67 and I don’t have an infinite amount of time left,” he reflected. “Do I want to write, do I want to talk, do I want to hike, do I want to stay home, do I want to see the world? I have decided to start by doing nothing and see what happens next, “he said.

No one imagined Merkel spending time idly at home, and even less after a few days ago the request she presented to the Bundestag to have her own office on Berlin’s Unter den Linden boulevard was leaked to the press. All former foreign ministers have the right to an office, staff and a driver, but the document in which Merkel asks for nine employees (two office directors, two specialized advisers, three administrative and two drivers) has just confirmed that the ex-president is going to develop some type of public activity. At the moment, it is known that he is preparing a political memoir that he will write in four hands with one of his closest confidants, Beate Baumann.

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The one who has been Merkel’s chief of staff since 1992 anticipates that the book they are preparing will not be an ordinary autobiography. “The Chancellor does not want to tell her life, but to explain her main political decisions in her own words and relate them to her life trajectory,” he told The mirror. The story will jump from crisis to crisis: the financial crisis, the euro crisis, the refugee crisis, the coronavirus crisis. It is the first time that the enigmatic Baumann, who has never granted an interview, allows a medium to quote her words. The project will last for two or three years. “The chancellor and I were clear that if we made this book it would be by ourselves, without a shadow writer, without historians or journalists,” he details.

Merkel has moved into the former office of Margot Honecker, Minister of Education of the communist GDR and wife of President Erich Honecker, in a building owned by the Bundestag at 71 Unter den Linden. His predecessor Helmut Kohl also had his office there when he left the chancery. Merkel and her husband, the scientist Joachim Sauer, will continue to live in the center of Berlin, in their rented apartment near Museum Island, although they may now allow themselves more getaways to a house they own in the rural district of Berlin. Uckermark, near Templin, the eastern German town where the former chancellor grew up. The couple is known to be very fond of long walks in the countryside, one of the few hobbies who are known to Merkel.

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Another that they have made public is classical music. The couple is a regular at concerts and operas in Berlin and does not usually miss the Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals (Austria), where they will surely be seen in future editions, in summer. The Austrian Government has just given Merkel a lifetime pass so that she does not miss an appointment. Until now, she paid for the tickets herself, says the statement from the foreign ministry of the neighboring country. It remains to be seen whether, in addition, he will begin to give lectures, write press forums or participate as a speaker at an international event. It is completely ruled out that he does like Kohl, or his immediate predecessor, the Social Democrat Gerhard Schröder, who started private businesses almost immediately after leaving office. Neither could: a 2015 law now bans revolving doors in the first year.

What he has suggested is that he will be available for the new government to consult him from time to time, and his successor, Olaf Scholz, said at the transfer of the head of government that he would like to hear your opinion. If it happens, it will be in specific cases and in private, says political scientist Andrea Römmele. He is not expected to comment on current politics or give public advice to the new Executive. “Merkel is gone,” emphasizes the professor at the Hertie School of Governance.

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The former chancellor will continue to receive her full salary – about 35,000 euros per month – for a quarter, half of that amount at most during a transition period of 21 months, and then she will be entitled to a pension of about 15,000 euros, according to calculations by German wave. Will you use it to travel the world? At some point she has said that she would like to return to the universities that have made her honorary degree so that she can chat quietly with the students. If he did, he would visit two dozen cities in 13 countries, from China to the United States. You may spend time in Italy, where your husband has been appointed a professor at the University of Turin.

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On Thursday, the first day after leaving office, the newspaper image He photographed her entering her new office at 8:20 in the morning. It is not clear that he is going to take a break, although this summer he said when he received his doctorate at Johns Hopkins that he wants to enjoy his free time after 16 years of uninterrupted service to his country: “Maybe I will try to read something, and I will they’ll close their eyes because I’ll be tired, so I’ll take a nap, and then we’ll see ”.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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