Angela Merkel bows out to the sound of Beethoven and an East German punk hit | Angela Merkel


The top of Angela Merkel’s reign as German chancellor was marked with Beethoven, a romantic chanson and an East German punk hit, all performed with clockwork precision by the Bundeswehr army band.

After 16 years in workplace, Angela Merkel is handing over to Olaf Scholz subsequent week, and was awarded a army tattoo in her honour, the highest tribute to a civilian. Wearing a easy black coat and black gloves, Europe’s strongest politician regarded sombre, betraying little emotion, as she watched torch-carrying troopers in full regalia parade by the courtyard of Berlin’s defence ministry.

Hours earlier than the ceremony, Merkel had introduced harder measures to curb Germany’s hovering coronavirus circumstances, together with what her successor referred to as “a lockdown of the unvaccinated”.

At the occasion she stated her 4 phrases had been “eventful and usually very difficult years.

“They’ve challenged me politically and humanly and, at the similar time, they had been additionally fulfilling.”

The occasion started with a Beethoven army march and ended with Ich bete an die Macht Liebe (I pray to the energy of love), a standard music that has been half of the ceremony since the Napoleonic wars. Throughout this piece the troopers eliminated their gray helmets and Merkel briefly smiled at the officer main the singing as the last bars pale.

The customized of the Großer Zapfenstreich or Grand tattoo ceremony dates again to the sixteenth century, however the German army’s highest honour has solely been bestowed on chancellors since the departure in 1998 of Helmut Kohl, whose farewell was held in entrance of the Speyer Cathedral in his residence state of Rhineland-Palatinate.

Whereas Schröder’s Großer Zapfenstreich was attended by 600 company, Merkel is reported to have invited solely about 200, together with the 52 ministers which have served beneath her tenure. She was seated subsequent to Germany’s present defence minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a protege as soon as tipped to change Merkel, however who by no means gained over their CDU occasion. One other protege, Ursula von der Leyen, the present president of the European Fee and a former household and defence minister beneath Merkel, was not anticipated to attend.

Soldiers hold torches as Germany’s outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, attends the grand tattoo of the German armed forces, Bundeswehr,
Troopers maintain torches as Germany’s outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, attends the grand tattoo of the Bundeswehr, at the defence ministry in Berlin on 2 December. {Photograph}: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

The army band performed three songs chosen by Merkel: the Christian hymn Großer Gott, wir loben Dich (Holy God, we reward thy title), Hildegard Knef’s chanson Für mich soll’s rote Rosen regnen (It ought to rain crimson roses for me), Nina Hagen’s Du hast den Farbfilm vergessen (You forgot the color movie) – the final decide an GDR pop hit of the Seventies that pays tribute to Merkel’s East German upbringing in a manner she has not often finished whereas in workplace.

Understood as a criticism of the drab actuality of East German communism, the music is an offended lament that admonishes Hagen’s boyfriend Michael for having solely taken a black and white movie on their vacation to Hiddensee island. Because of this, she wails, “nobody will consider how lovely it was right here”.

Merkel had described the music as “a spotlight of my youth” and famous that it was set in the area that was her Baltic Sea constituency “so all of it suits”.

After the occasion, Germany’s present financial system minister and shut ally Peter Altmaier tweeted that it was “a terrific Zapfenstreich for a terrific Chancellor”. Alluding to Hagen’s music, he stated: “Angela Merkel defined to us in black and white when it was severe and essential” including in English, “Thx quite a bit. We are going to badly miss you.”

Outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel
Outgoing German chancellor Angela Merkel holds a crimson rose at the conclusion of her army tattoo ceremony hosted by the Bundeswehr on 2 December. {Photograph}: Sean Gallup/Getty Pictures

Merkel is predicted to handover the chancellorship to Olaf Scholz subsequent week however, first, the incoming authorities’s coalition settlement will want to be authorised by the three events concerned.

Scholz’s Social Democratic occasion (SPD) will maintain a celebration congress on Saturday, the place its delegates are anticipated to ratify the deal beneath which the centre-left will return to the chancellery for the first time since 2005. In contrast to in 2013 and 2018, the SPD gained’t give a vote on the future power-sharing settlement to its total membership.

The liberal Free Democratic occasion (FDP) will maintain a vote at a digital congress the day after, whereas the Inexperienced occasion’s members have till 6 December to approve or reject the settlement. Whereas many members of the ecological occasion have voiced criticisms of the environmental elements of the deal, a rejection is seen as unlikely.

As soon as the doc has been authorised by all three events, Scholz could possibly be sworn in as Germany’s subsequent chief as quickly as Monday 6 December and no later than the finish of Wednesday. On Thursday, a German chancellor can have to signify the nation at the “summit for democracy” hosted by the US president, Joe Biden.

Merkel is almost certainly to hand over the chancellery on the similar day as Scholz’s swearing in.