Correspondent in Berlin
Angela Merkel has been fired tonight from the position of chancellor, which after 16 years was already heard in her as a second surname, calling to fight against hatred, violence and misinformation. “Democracy also lives that where hatred and violence are used as legitimate means for our own interests, our tolerance as democrats finds its limit,” he said, and recalled that trust is one of the most valuable democratic assets.
“The 16 years as chancellor were hectic and often very challenging. They challenged me politically and personally, and at the same time they always complied, “he confessed. “The last two years of the pandemic in particular have shown like a magnifying glass how important trust in politics, science and social discourse is, but also how fragile it can be.”
“Our democracy thrives on the ability to critically examine and correct oneself. It lives on solidarity and trust, as well as trust in the facts and the fact that where scientific knowledge is denied, conspiracy theories and agitation spread, “he added, later encouraging” that you always see the world through the eyes of the other, to perceive the sometimes uncomfortable and contradictory perspectives of the other person, to work towards a balance of interests and to preserve a culture of political debate for which many other nations envy us ”.
The German Army paid honors to the Chancellor for the last time on a frigid night and in front of only 200 guests, an act minimized by the express wish of the honoree and that, due to lack of space in the courtyard of the Chancellery, took place in the Ministry of Defense, which in addition to having a more spacious patio provided him with the opportunity to say goodbye in his own field, together with the still acting Defense Minister Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer, his favorite and whom he designated for a succession finally failed.
She listened with a hieratic attitude to the three musical pieces of her own choosing: the Christian hymn ‘Großer Gott, wir loben Dich’ (Holy God, we praise your name), from the 18th century; the ironic-nostalgic song ‘It should rain roses on me’ by Hildegard Knef, between whose chords Merkel visibly struggled with tears; and ‘You Forgot the Color Movie’, first recorded in 1974 by the German punk singer Nina Hagen and that has given rise to numerous political readings. And he said goodbye wishing the German people “heartfelt joy.”
During the greatest act of recognition of the Armed forces German women, Merkel was moved at times and remained with her eyes downcast, almost in a gesture of humility, despite the fact that the data builds a balance that invites pride and a high gaze. The life expectancy of Germans, for example, has increased by two years since Angela Merkel took office in 2005.
The achievements of the Merkel era
Despite the rise in housing prices, the per capita living space has gone from 42 square meters in 2005 to 47 square meters today. School failure has dropped from 8.2% to 6.3% and a million fewer crimes are reported each year. It seems clear that he did not achieve digitization in time, but remember that when he came to power, social networks did not even exist. Facebook was not yet out of Mark Zuckerberg’s computer, and the Twitter bird was an egg at best. Today 46% of Germans are active users of social networks. That is 38 million people. And 96% of the population declares itself to be an internet user, while in 2005 it was only 68.7%.
In macroeconomic terms, Merkel came to power when Germany failed to comply with the Stability Pact European, with a public deficit of 3.3%. Only after his first term in office, in 2012 he had already achieved a zero deficit and from then on there were years of surpluses of up to 1.8%. At least until the pandemic hit. Although the economic data that has always been a priority for her has been employment. The unemployment it has dropped from 13% at the beginning of his first term to 6.3% today. In the east there is more unemployment, but in much of the German territory the situation is one of full technical employment.
Another data that speaks of German progress in these 16 years is the GDP per capita, surely one of the best indicators of the standard of living, which was 34,507 euros and today reaches 40,490 euros. As for the Human Development Index (HDI), which the United Nations prepares to measure the progress of a country, it was 0.908 in 2005 and in 2019, the latest data published in the series, it already amounted to 0.947. She reproaches herself for not having acted quickly enough to protect the climate, but during her governments the renewable energy they have gone from 10% to 40% of the energy mix.
Less tangible, but surely more relevant, is the international leadership role that Merkel has projected abroad. Today at the Berlin Chancellery the European menu is precooked and later plated in Brussels and Merkel He has maintained an unprecedented diplomatic activity in his position that has returned Germany to the global geostrategic heart.