"She is like a second mama", "We don't know any other chancellor," Germans bid Merkel farewell
"She is like a second mama", "We don't know any other chancellor," Germans bid Merkel farewell
- Title: "She is like a second mama", "We don't know any other chancellor," Germans bid Merkel farewell
- Date: 17th September 2021
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (RECENT - SEPTEMBER, 2021) (REUTERS) YOUNG PEOPLE CROSSING PAST AND WAVING TO CAMERA BUBBLES BEING BLOWN AT BRANDENBURG GATE BUBBLES PASSING QUADRIGA ON BRANDENBURG GATE (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, LISA (17-years old), SAYING: "I think we can't really say anything about another one as Merkel has been governing since we have been alive, so for us there has been nothing other than Merkel, so looking at it like that we just don't know any different and are curious as to what comes next." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, JILL (22-years old from Duesseldorf), SAYING: "I can't remember there being anyone else as chancellor, so for me, it's just always been Angie, so it will be weird to have to choose someone else." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, EILEEN (22-years old from Duesseldorf), SAYING: "I'm also not that old yet and since I have been following politics it has been Angela Merkel right at the top, as the head of state. And I am a bit afraid about what is to come and will have to wait and see what happens. I mean up to now it has all been going fine, and what is coming is now so unknown and that makes me feel nervous." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, MAX (17-years old), SAYING: "In my eyes she is reliable and really the main thing is her calmness. For me 'calm' is the best way to describe the Merkel era." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, MAXIM (18-years old), SAYING: "We are the generation that only knows Merkel, so we don't know what it was like before. But it has felt like stability, yes 'stability' is really the first thing that springs to mind when I think about Merkel." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PLAYING IN BUBBLES IN FRONT OF BRANDENBURG GATE (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, BARAN (23-year old) FROM PEINE NEAR HANOVER, SAYING: "The first thing that goes through my head is that I think '16 years in office, respect!' And that she had a grip on the whole thing is something I think is really impressive. And it's really sad that she's going. I think she has done an amazing job and I ask myself what her successor is going to do!" HORSE AND CART GOING PAST (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, MARIA LUISA SCHILL, (FROM NEAR FREIBURG) SAYING: "She has really been an enrichment for Germany. I think it probably wasn't easy for her at the beginning, as the first female chancellor, I think people were sceptical. And I think that abroad she is even more appreciated than in Germany. I remember experiencing the 2008-2009 crisis from Ireland and she had massive respect there and I think that she managed this crisis with a lot of thought and calm. She is a person that you see as your anchor in the storm, that you trust. I think she did a good job." RICKSHAW BIKE GUIDE PEOPLE CHATTING (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, MICHAEL BAUSCH, SAYING: "Basically, she is a woman at the head of the country. Back in the day no-one would have believed that a woman could be so strong, and considering all the things she has gone through and the fire she has come under, I think she did a really good job. I am curious to see what happens next, it certainly won't be easy to fill her shoes." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, MAXIM (18-years old), SAYING: "I think that the biggest topic is climate change and not just Merkel, the whole government missed the moment. There is still not enough being done." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, MAX (17-years old), SAYING: "In my opinion it's the fact that they completely messed up with digitalisation. Schools, and so on is what effects us, they could be so much better. And Germany is doing pretty badly as an EU average and is pretty near the bottom where digitalisation is concerned, I would have hoped for more." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, YANNICK (FROM THE PFALZ REGION), SAYING: "I think it's a pity. I think she was a good representative for Germany, especially between these two super powers, Russia and the U.S. - she was a calming buffer between them and I think we will need these qualities in the near future and it will be hard to replace her." PEOPLE WALKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, HEINZ DRINKEL, (FROM FLINTSBACH AM INN), SAYING: "As you say in English: Nobody's perfect! She made a few mistakes but these were good times, so let's see what comes next. Lot's of people complain, but I still think she did a good job, and lately it hasn't been easy!" PEOPLE WALKING NEAR THE NEW MUSEUM ON THE MUSEUM ISLAND (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, MANFRED HAAS, (FROM NUREMBERG), SAYING: "For me, when I think of her leaving, I feel a little afraid about what is coming next. What do I hope for? some stability in the future, but I am afraid it is going to go in the opposite direction." (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSERS-BY, HARTMUT AND KRISTA WOHLGEZOGEN (FROM WUPPERTAL), SAYING: "You know what you have, but what is coming now, who knows!" (Krista laughs and agrees) (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, REBWAR ARI, SAYING: "For foreigners she is like a second mama." CROW LOOKING ON PEOPLE LAUGHING TOGETHER PEOPLE SEEN THROUGH BRANCHES PEOPLE WALKING OVER BRIDGE (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, MR KUENSE (SOCIAL WORKER 61-YEARS OLD, LIVES IN BERLIN), SAYING: "The highlights of her time... well one could say it was her calming way, to govern through a crisis in a way that the people, especially in Berlin, don't flip out completely, and aren't so disappointed but calms them. But enough mistakes have been made. What isn't good is that this social injustice hasn't decreased at all, that's not good." WINDOW OF MUSEUM (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY AND BRETZEL SELLER, MOHAMMED ERIBE (from Morocco, 51 yrs, lives in Berlin since 1990) "Ah yes, Mrs Merkel, she is a nice chancellor. Yes, but sadly she has to stop. I think she has done enough for Germany, she is tired. A little bit tired." PUG DOGS SNIFFING AT CAMERA (SOUNDBITE) (German) PASSER-BY, BIRGIT DIECK, SAYING: "She is an absolutely unvain person which I think is fantastic. She is clear-cut, she is intelligent and I miss her already. (LAUGHS) She is clear-cut, she is always there. She was like a home from home." VARIOUS OF PIGEONS ON ALEXANDER PLATZ BUSKER SAYING: "DEAR ANGELA, A SONG FOR YOU", AND THEN PLAYING ANDREA BOCELLI'S 'IT'S TIME TO SAY GOODBYE' BUSKER PLAYING SONG / PAN TO EMPTY POTSDAMER PLATZ
- Embargoed: 1st October 2021 08:29
- Keywords: Angela Merkel Bundestag Chancellery German chancellor German federal election say goodbye
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Europe,Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA001EV3W4ZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: After 16-years of living under Chancellor Angela Merkel, many Germans have never known anything except "Angie", some are missing her already and wondering what will follow.
With less than three weeks until the national election, Germans pass revue on the Merkel era, praising her calmness and stabilising influence as they look ahead with trepidation to a new leader taking over after the Sept. 26 vote.
Merkel, who plans to step down after the election, has loomed large on the European stage since taking office in 2005, when George W. Bush was U.S. president, Jacques Chirac in the Elysee Palace in Paris and Tony Blair British prime minister.
Armed with a doctorate in quantum chemistry, Merkel has adopted a pragmatic, problem-solving approach to government, guiding Germany - and Europe - through the euro zone crisis, the 2015 migrants crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.
"She is clear-cut, she is intelligent and I miss her already," Birgit Dieck, walking through central Berlin, said of Merkel, who is sometimes known as 'Mutti', or mummy, and is regularly rated Germany's most popular politician.
"She is always there. She was like a home from home."
Under Merkel, Germany has gone from 'sick man of Europe' to economic powerhouse, though it remains deeply divided on east-west lines and the arrival of a wave of migrants in 2015 boosted the far-right and fractured the political landscape.
The daughter of a protestant pastor, Merkel grew up in Communist East Germany before taking the helm of a predominantly male, Catholic, western German party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
"As the first female chancellor, I think people were sceptical," Maria Luisa Schill, from near Freiburg in southwest Germany's Black Forest, said of Merkel, who on Wednesday described herself as a feminist. She valued Merkel's crisis-management skills.
"She is a person that you see as your anchor in the storm, that you trust. I think she did a good job," added Schill, strolling in front of Berlin's landmark Brandenburg Gate.
Some younger Germans said that despite four straight national election victories, Merkel had not done enough to address climate change, improve education or to move Germany into the digital age.
"I think the biggest topic is climate change and not just Merkel, the whole government missed the moment," said Maxim, 18, who declined to give his surname.
First-time voters have only known Merkel as chancellor.
Merkel's would-be successor from the CDU, Armin Laschet, promises "steadfastness" - a pitch that is failing to win over voters worried about climate change, immigration and COVID-19. His Social Democrat rivals have overtaken his party in polls.
"I feel some trepidation at what is coming," said Manfred Haas from Nuremberg. "What do I hope for? Some stability in the future, but I am afraid it is going to go in the opposite direction."
What looked just a few weeks ago like a comfortable win for Merkel and Laschet's conservative CDU/CSU bloc is now a tight race, with multiple potential coalitions after the election.
"I am curious to see what happens next, it certainly won't be easy to fill her shoes," said Michael Bausch.
(Production: Tanya Wood, Oliver Barth)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None