Konrad Adenauer, Helmut Kohl, and Angela Merkel. As the third person ever, the ex-Chancellor was awarded the highest possible level of the Federal Cross of Merit (Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in a special version). In his speech, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised the former head of government as an "unprecedented politician" who successfully steered Germany through many crises.
An homage that not everyone in political Berlin shares, among other things with a view to Merkel's Russia policy - and in the comment columns of German media the honor for Angela Merkel is not only seen positively. The press review:
"Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung": "Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who receives the highest German medal as Federal President qua office, tried to convey the impression of exclusivity when awarding Angela Merkel. (...) Today, since the weaknesses, despite all the lasting admiration for the Hard work of 16 years in the Chancellery is openly evident, (he) leaves it at that to demand 'new thinking' in view of the Russian war of aggression.(...) Also how to deal with the refugee crisis, which shouldn't be repeated after all, but now on the contrary, it persists and swells, is anything but a glorious page.... Steinmeier has now once again ennobled Angela Merkel's irritating insistence that she basically did everything right. He's already secured his medal. But politics, too he was involved didn't deserve one."
"Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung": "She gave Germany a friendly face during the refugee crisis and navigated through many crises. At the end of her term of office, the country is not perfect, but it is strong. Acknowledging this does not mean dealing uncritically with her course, her decisions. But to pretend that she had built Nord Stream on her own does not do justice to history. How will the same critics, who now claim to have known everything better ex post, take Olaf Scholz's China policy to court in ten years? In their calm Art, the first chancellor also showed how you can assert yourself in the most important state office without dominating behavior and ego trips."
"Stuttgarter Zeitung": "Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is not exactly one of Merkel's creations, but he owes his office to her support - which does not make the award from his hand any better. Now it would be small-minded and unhistorical to look back at her chancellorship alone The main argument against premature canonization by the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, which has now been awarded, is the persistent refusal of any self-criticism. That at least casts doubt on the historical format."
"Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger": "Through continuity, reliability, patience, lack of vanity, iron hardness against herself, but always with curiosity and a desire for power, Merkel governed Germany for four legislative periods in relative calm and developed it as an international leading power. Now gets she received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit in a special copy. Who, if not her?"
"Nürnberger Nachrichten": "Politicians are in the limelight, must always be available from a certain level of responsibility and forego part of their private lives. And yet the following applies: Orders from politicians for politicians do not fit into the 21st century, they come from a time long gone . The actual awarding of orders for politicians takes place regularly during elections, there is no need for further awards."
"Allgemeine Zeitung" (Mainz): "Just 18 months ago, many people thought a Federal Republic would not be possible without her. Far beyond Germany's borders, her reputation as a crisis manager was legendary. And it is no coincidence that she was one of the most influential politicians in the world for many years .(...) But Russia's breach of civilization, the attack on Ukraine, has also changed the view of Merkel.Here, like her predecessor Gerhard Schröder, she is quite rightly criticized for a completely misguided German policy towards Russia, which the warmonger Vladimir made Putin strong in the first place."
"Reutlinger General-Anzeiger": "There is no doubt that Merkel, like the other medal holders, has done a great job and campaigned for Germany - but that was her job. That's why she was elected and re-elected. They took an oath to do exactly that do. And they were paid for it by the taxpayer. Properly – but not princely. For comparison: What Merkel earned as Chancellor in a year, football star Toni Kroos earns at Real Madrid in about a week."
Angela Merkel was Chancellor for 16 years. The first. At the end of 2021 she resigned her post, now there is a man in office. What is left of her? What was she like, the chancellor? How is she as a boss, as a friend, as a feminist? For 16 years, the story of Angela Merkel was mostly told by men. stern editor-in-chief Anna-Beeke Gretemeier meets with companions of the former Chancellor - yes, only with women. The conversations show new perspectives and thus draw a very personal audio portrait. Listen to all the episodes of the stern podcast "ÜberMerkel – Telling the Familiar" here:
"Die Glocke" (Oelde): "But the honor is independent of individual decisions: tireless commitment and diplomatic skill, especially at international level, ability to compromise, pragmatism, absolute freedom from scandals - Merkel gave people trust in difficult times, conveyed confidence, faith strengthened in democracy and politics. That is definitely worth the order."
"Straubinger Tagblatt/Landshuter Zeitung": "Due to an unprecedented density of crisis situations in the recent past, Angela Merkel has led Germany largely stably and with enormous discipline. This will be the case in the current situation, where we are faced with completely different challenges such as the Ukraine Deal with the war, like to suppress it. She undoubtedly didn't do everything right. The nuclear phase-out or her Russia policy could prove to be a burden. You can say what you want - she shaped the country. That will remain and for that she will receive the Order of Merit. "
"Frankenpost" (Hof): "Steinmeier honors a person who has served the country over an unusually long distance with many international challenges that have become frighteningly common. Scandal-free, unpretentious, selfless. Painfully faithful to principles. Although not without major political misjudgments."