Leipzig Book Fair: No mistakes, but omissions - Merkel looks back

In her memoirs, former Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to look back on 16 years as chancellor, controversial decisions, but also on her childhood.

Leipzig Book Fair: No mistakes, but omissions - Merkel looks back

In her memoirs, former Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to look back on 16 years as chancellor, controversial decisions, but also on her childhood. "I have to say that here at the book fair: It's also a non-fiction book, so no false expectations," said the CDU politician at an event at the Leipzig Book Fair on Saturday evening. The audience greeted Merkel with long applause. There was a standing ovation at the farewell.

Merkel is working on her book with Beate Baumann, her long-standing office manager. It is scheduled for release in fall 2024.

The visit of the former chancellor aroused great interest among the visitors to the Leipzig Book Fair in advance. According to the organizers, the tickets were sold out within a few days. In a conversation with the editor-in-chief of the weekly newspaper "Die Zeit", Giovanni di Lorenzo, Merkel also looked back on controversial decisions that she made between 2005 and 2021.

When asked by her interlocutor whether her policy could have anything to do with the election results of the AfD, Merkel rejected any responsibility for the high approval ratings, especially in eastern Germany. "I had to deal with political situations that led to a division of opinion in Germany," said the 68-year-old.

Nevertheless, she has no understanding for people who violate democratic principles. It focuses on people who share democratic values. You have to try to get the others back.

That's why she came back

The reason that she started again in 2017 - i.e. after her refugee decision in 2015 - was also because she said to herself: "I'm not going to run away after this decision."

For example, with a view to climate protection, Merkel admitted to omissions in the conversation. Events such as the financial or refugee crises prevented her from pursuing other issues with more energy. In retrospect, Merkel defended her Russia policy and the energy policy decisions that made Germany heavily dependent on Russian gas. "I would rather have gas imported from Great Britain and Norway, as we used to do, and the Netherlands. But they were no longer available. For us, the question was: more expensive LNG - a third more expensive - or cheaper Russian gas." LNG is liquid gas.

The former chancellor resisted di Lorenzo's question as to why, looking back, she wasn't comfortable admitting mistakes. "To be honest, I don't know whether it has a pacifying function if I now simply say something that I'm not thinking, just so that I'm now admitting a mistake," Merkel said.

"We need parity - everywhere"

However, the former chancellor said it was a failure not to have given sufficient support to women. "I didn't achieve the goal I would have liked to achieve." The number of women in her party shows that women have not been sufficiently promoted in the past. "We need parity - everywhere," demanded Merkel. That also applies to the Bundestag, "in whatever way".

Looking at herself, Merkel still finds it difficult to use the female form, as the former chancellor reported. "In the GDR I was a physicist. I had a degree in physics, that's what my diploma said." In the meantime, she has got used to speaking of herself as a physicist. Otherwise they don't gender, she said. "I always stick to the dictionary."

NEXT NEWS