‘Auf Wiedersehen Angela!’ Merkel’s best moments of 16 years in office

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More than 16 years after she was appointed as Germany’s first female chancellor, Angela Merkel has now assured herself a place in the history books.

In Germany, the former chancellor has been credited with raising the country’s profile and influence, nearly halving unemployment figures.

Merkel made progress in promoting renewable energy but was also criticised for moving too slowly on climate change.

Internationally, her 16 years in office – falling just a week short of a record term – were marked by numerous crises, from the 2015-2016 migrant influx to Europe, to the most recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Merkel worked to hold a fractious European Union together, amid enduring popularity abroad as a role model for women.

The CDU politician served alongside four French presidents, five British prime ministers, and eight Italian premiers.

But Germany’s “Mutti” will also be remembered for several memorable and viral moments – from her celebrations at the 2010 FIFA World Cup to her signature rhombus-shaped hand gesture.

Merkel was a driving force behind EU sanctions against Russia over its annexation of Crimea and backing of separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Who could forget this memorable exchange from January 2007 between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Merkel, when a stoic-looking Merkel didn’t flinch when Putin’s dog came up to sniff her?

It was believed to be a deliberate provocation from the Russian president since Merkel is afraid of dogs.

Having worked with four US presidents, he also had a tense relationship with Donald Trump, as many noticed in 2017 when reporters at their first meeting in Washington DC had to remind them to shake hands.

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A number of other exchanges and incidents have also gone viral in recent years, such as when she was mistaken by an elderly French woman for Brigitte Macron, the wife of the French president Emmanuel Macron.

The former German chancellor was also seen sharing a laugh with former UK prime minister Theresa May when they both wore similar coloured jackets during the tense Brexit negotiations in France.

The stoic-looking Merkel was never one to put on a show, but then she was not often trying to feed Australian lorikeets in a bird park.

The 67-year-old hasn’t disclosed any future plans but said earlier this year that she will take time to “read and sleep” and “then let’s see where I show up”.


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