110 Facts About Angela Merkel


Angela Dorothea Merkel is a German former politician and scientist who served as Chancellor of Germany from November 2005 to December 2021.


Angela Merkel was born in Hamburg in then-West Germany, moving to East Germany as an infant when her father, a Lutheran clergyman, received a pastorate in Perleberg.


Angela Merkel obtained a doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986 and worked as a research scientist until 1989.


Angela Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, briefly serving as deputy spokeswoman for the first democratically elected Government of East Germany led by Lothar de Maiziere.


Angela Merkel was the first woman to be elected as Chancellor, and the first Chancellor since reunification to have been raised in the former East Germany.


At the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote, and Angela Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the Free Democratic Party.


At the 2017 federal election, Angela Merkel led the CDU to become the largest party for the fourth time; Angela Merkel formed a third grand coalition with the SPD and was sworn in for a joint-record fourth term as Chancellor on 14 March 2018.

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In foreign policy, Angela Merkel has emphasised international cooperation, both in the context of the EU and NATO, and strengthening transatlantic economic relations.


In 2008, Angela Merkel served as President of the European Council and played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration.


Angela Merkel negotiated the 2008 European Union stimulus plan focusing on infrastructure spending and public investment to counteract the Great Recession.


Angela Merkel served as the senior G7 leader from 2011 to 2012 and again from 2014 to 2021.


In October 2018, Angela Merkel announced that she would stand down as Leader of the CDU at the party convention, and would not seek a fifth term as chancellor in the 2021 federal election.


Merkel was born Angela Dorothea Kasner in 1954, in Hamburg, West Germany, the daughter of Horst Kasner, a Lutheran pastor and a native of Berlin, and his wife Herlind, born in Danzig, a teacher of English and Latin.


Angela Merkel has two younger siblings, Marcus Kasner, a physicist, and Irene Kasner, an occupational therapist.


Angela Merkel's paternal grandfather, Ludwik Kasner, was a German policeman of Polish ethnicity, who had taken part in Poland's struggle for independence in the early 20th century.


Angela Merkel married Merkel's grandmother Margarethe, a German from Berlin, and relocated to her hometown where he worked in the police.


Since the mid-1990s, Angela Merkel has publicly mentioned her Polish heritage on several occasions and described herself as a quarter Polish, but her Polish roots became better known as a result of a 2013 biography.


In 1954, when Angela Merkel was just three months old, her father received a pastorate at the church in Quitzow, which was then in East Germany.


Angela Merkel did not participate in the secular coming-of-age ceremony Jugendweihe which was common in East Germany.


At school Angela Merkel learned to speak Russian fluently, and was awarded prizes for her proficiency in Russian and mathematics.


Angela Merkel was the best in her class in mathematics and Russian, and completed her school education with the best possible average Abitur grade 1.0.


Angela Merkel continued her education at Karl Marx University, Leipzig, where she studied physics from 1973 to 1978.


Angela Merkel declined, using the excuse that she could not keep secrets well enough to be an effective spy.


Angela Merkel worked and studied at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in Berlin-Adlershof from 1978 to 1990.


However, Angela Merkel has denied this claim and stated that she was secretary for culture, which involved activities like obtaining theatre tickets and organising talks by visiting Soviet authors.

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Angela Merkel was therefore appointed deputy spokesperson of the new and last pre-unification government under Lothar de Maiziere.


Angela Merkel had impressed de Maiziere with her adept dealing with journalists investigating Schnur's role in the Stasi.


Angela Merkel received the crucial backing of then-influential CDU minister and state party chairman Gunther Krause.


Angela Merkel has won re-election from this constituency at the seven federal elections held since then.


Almost immediately following her entry into parliament, Angela Merkel was appointed by Chancellor Helmut Kohl to serve as Minister for Women and Youth in the federal cabinet.


Angela Merkel lost to Ulf Finke; this has been the only election to date Merkel has lost.


In June 1993, Angela Merkel was elected leader of the CDU in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, succeeding her former mentor Gunther Krause.


Angela Merkel oversaw a string of CDU election victories in six out of seven state elections in 1999, breaking the long-standing SPD-Green hold on the Bundesrat.


Angela Merkel was elected to replace Schauble, becoming the first female leader of a German party on 10 April 2000.


Angela Merkel's election surprised many observers, as her personality offered a contrast to the party she had been elected to lead; Merkel is a centrist Protestant originating from predominantly Protestant northern Germany, while the CDU is a male-dominated, socially conservative party with strongholds in western and southern Germany, and its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, has deep Catholic roots.


Angela Merkel was outmaneuvered politically by CSU Leader Edmund Stoiber, to whom she eventually ceded the privilege of challenging Schroder.


Angela Merkel went on to squander a large lead in opinion polls to lose the election by a razor-thin margin in an election campaign that was dominated by the Iraq War.


Angela Merkel supported a substantial reform agenda for Germany's economic and social system, and was considered more pro-market than her own party.


Angela Merkel advocated German labour law changes, specifically removing barriers to laying off employees and increasing the allowed number of work hours in a week.


Angela Merkel argued that existing laws made the country less competitive, because companies could not easily control labour costs when business is slow.


Angela Merkel argued that Germany should phase out nuclear power less quickly than the Schroder administration had planned.


Angela Merkel criticised the government's support for the accession of Turkey to the European Union and favoured a "privileged partnership" instead.


Angela Merkel's party began the campaign with a 21-point lead over the SPD in national opinion polls, although her personal popularity lagged behind that of the incumbent.


Angela Merkel regained some momentum after she announced that she would appoint Paul Kirchhof, a former judge at the German Constitutional Court and leading fiscal policy expert, as Minister of Finance.


However, after three weeks of negotiations, the two parties reached a deal whereby Angela Merkel would become Chancellor and the SPD would hold 8 of the 16 seats in the cabinet.

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The First Angela Merkel cabinet was sworn in at 16:00 CET on 22 November 2005.


The second Cabinet of Angela Merkel was sworn in on 28 October 2009.


On 22 November 2005, Angela Merkel assumed the office of Chancellor of Germany following a stalemate election that resulted in a grand coalition with the SPD.


Angela Merkel was elected Chancellor by the majority of delegates in the newly assembled Bundestag on 22 November 2005, but 51 members of the governing coalition voted against her.


Angela Merkel's party was re-elected in 2009 with an increased number of seats, and could form a governing coalition with the FDP.


The third Cabinet of Angela Merkel was sworn in on 17 December 2013.


Midway through her second term, Angela Merkel's approval plummeted in Germany, resulting in heavy losses in state elections for her party.


The Fourth Angela Merkel cabinet was sworn in on 14 March 2018.


In October 2018, Angela Merkel announced that she had decided not to run for re-election in the 2021 federal election.


Angela Merkel continued to serve as chancellor in a caretaker capacity until 8 December 2021, when Scholz was sworn in.


Angela Merkel is in favour of a "mandatory solidarity mechanism" for relocation of asylum-seekers from Italy and Greece to other EU member states as part of the long-term solution to Europe's migrant crisis.


In late August 2015, during the height of the European migrant crisis, Angela Merkel's government suspended European provisions, which stipulated that asylum seekers must seek asylum in the first EU country they arrive.


Angela Merkel insisted that Germany had the economic strength to cope with the influx of migrants and reiterated that there is no legal maximum limit on the number of migrants Germany can take.


Meanwhile, Yasmin Fahimi, secretary-general of the Social Democratic Party, the junior partner of the ruling coalition, praised Angela Merkel's policy allowing migrants in Hungary to enter Germany as "a strong signal of humanity to show that Europe's values are valid in difficult times".


The issues are in conflict between the CSU who favoured those new measures and threatened to leave the coalition without them, and the SPD who opposes them; Angela Merkel agreed to the measures.


However, while not officially limiting the influx numerically, Angela Merkel tightened asylum policy in Germany.


Angela Merkel feared that unilaterally sending migrants back to neighbouring countries without seeking a multilateral European agreement could endanger the stability of the European Union.


On 1 July 2018, Seehofer rejected the agreement Angela Merkel had obtained with EU countries as too little and declared his resignation during a meeting of his party's executive, but they refused to accept it.


Angela Merkel has won international plaudits for her handling of the pandemic in Germany.


Angela Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union throughout her tenure as Chancellor.

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In 2015, with the absence of Stephen Harper, Angela Merkel became the only leader to have attended every G20 meeting since the first in 2008, having been present at a record fifteen summits as of 2021.


Angela Merkel hosted the twelfth meeting at the 2017 G20 Hamburg summit.


Angela Merkel signed the agreement for the Transatlantic Economic Council on 30 April 2007 at the White House.


On 25 September 2007, Angela Merkel met the 14th Dalai Lama for "private and informal talks" in the Chancellery in Berlin amid protest from China.


In recognition of the importance of China to the German economy, by 2014 Angela Merkel had led seven trade delegations to China since assuming office in 2005.


In 2006, Angela Merkel expressed concern about overreliance on Russian energy, but she received little support from others in Berlin.


In June 2018, Angela Merkel said that there had been "no moral or political justification" for the post-war expulsion of ethnic Germans from Central and Eastern European countries.


On 4 October 2008, following the Irish Government's decision to guarantee all deposits in private savings accounts, a move she strongly criticised, Angela Merkel said there were no plans for the German Government to do the same.


Angela Merkel went on to say that Europe could only maintain its prosperity by being innovative and measuring itself against the best.


Angela Merkel was widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union throughout her tenure as Chancellor.


Angela Merkel was twice named the world's second most powerful person, following Vladimir Putin, by Forbes magazine, the highest ranking ever achieved by a woman.


On 26 March 2014, Angela Merkel became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union.


In December 2015, Angela Merkel was named as Time magazine's Person of the Year, with the magazine's cover declaring her to be the "Chancellor of the Free World".


In 2018, Angela Merkel was named the most powerful woman in the world for a record fourteenth time by Forbes.


Angela Merkel was found in a 2018 survey to be the most respected world leader internationally.


Angela Merkel was named as Harvard University's commencement speaker in 2019; Harvard University President Larry Bacow described her as "one of the most widely admired and broadly influential statespeople of our time".


On 29 October 2018, Angela Merkel announced that she would not seek reelection as leader of CDU at their party conference in December 2018, but intended to remain as chancellor until the 2021 German federal election was held.


Angela Merkel stated that she did not plan to seek any political office after this.


Angela Merkel decided not to suggest any person as her successor as leader of the CDU.


However, political observers had long considered Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as Angela Merkel's protege groomed for succession.

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On 1 June 2022 Angela Merkel made her first semi-public comments about political affairs since leaving office, at a retirement party for Reiner Hoffmann, the president of the German Trade Union Confederation.


On 7 June 2022 Angela Merkel made her first public comments.


In 1977, at the age of 23, Merkel, then Angela Kasner, married physics student Ulrich Merkel was born on 1953 and and took his surname.


Angela Merkel has no children, but Sauer has two adult sons from a previous marriage.


Angela Merkel was able to speak informally to Vladimir Putin in Russian, but conducted diplomatic dialogue through an interpreter.


Angela Merkel rarely spoke English in public, but delivered a small section of an address to the British parliament in English in 2014.


Angela Merkel stated that her favorite movie is The Legend of Paul and Paula, an East German movie released in 1973.


Angela Merkel has a fear of dogs after being attacked by one in 1995.


Since 2017 Angela Merkel has been seen and filmed to shake visibly on several public occasions, recovering shortly afterwards.


In September 2021, after years of evading the question, Angela Merkel said she considered herself a feminist.


Later in her tenure, Angela Merkel acquired the nickname "Mutti".


Angela Merkel has been called the "Iron Chancellor", in reference to Otto von Bismarck.


Angela Merkel has been criticised for being personally present and involved at the M100 Media Award handover to Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who had triggered the Muhammad cartoons controversy.


The term alternativlos, which was frequently used by Angela Merkel to describe her measures addressing the European sovereign-debt crisis, was named the Un-word of the Year 2010 by a jury of linguistic scholars.


In July 2013, Angela Merkel defended the surveillance practices of the National Security Agency, and described the United States as "our truest ally throughout the decades".


Angela Merkel compared the NSA to the Stasi when it became known that her mobile phone was tapped by that agency.


In July 2014 Angela Merkel said trust between Germany and the United States could only be restored by talks between the two, and she would seek to have talks.


Angela Merkel reiterated that the US remained Germany's most important ally.


Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted that Germany has the economic strength to cope with the influx of migrants and reiterated that there is no legal maximum limit on the number of migrants Germany can take.


Angela Merkel has faced criticism for failing to take a tough line on the People's Republic of China.

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Angela Merkel's government decided to phase out both nuclear power and coal plants and supported the European Commission's Green Deal plans.


Angela Merkel government admitted German firms to sell dual use military equipment to Russia, however rejected arms exports to Ukraine.


Angela Merkel's chancellorship has become tightly associated with the policy of Wandel durch Handel, pursuing close economic ties with authoritarian leaders.


Since 1991, Angela Merkel has sat annually for sitting and standing portraits by, and interview with, Herlinde Koelbl.


Angela Merkel was portrayed by Swiss actress Anna Katarina in the 2012 political satire film The Dictator.