The German Chancellor said she hoped history books would say “she tried” after 14 years at the helm of Germany. Once described as the world’s most powerful woman, Angela Merkel surrendered her 18-year leadership of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) last year and is preparing to step down as chancellor in 2021 after losing grip on power in the face of plummeting opinion polls and an unpopular and ineffective coalition government.
Quizzed over how she would like to be remembered in the history books in 50 years time, Mrs Merkel replied: “Well, I can’t… that’s… um… ‘she tried’”.
But Mrs Merkel appeared to be coy when she was pressed on her future political career plans during the question and answer session with local newspaper Ostsee Zeitung.
Speaking on her return from her summer holiday, she said: “Honestly, I don’t really have that much time to think about it that much, because my everyday life is quite challenging.
“Yes, I do not want to have any further active political offices.
Angela Merkel stepped down as CDU leader last year
Angela Merkel could be replaced as Chancellor by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer
“I do not want to rule out that if someone invites me, that I will do talks, that I will continue to talk about it, that I will take care of something like development politics or something else, I don’t know that yet.
“Because I will remain a political person. But I will not have an active political office.”
And when quizzed further on a future career in EU politics, Mrs Merkel failed to rule it out, simply saying: “No, they have all just been allocated, the posts”.
She was pressed further and added: “I believe this is quite an impressive period in life, you can’t say it was just a trial course. And there’s a time for everything.”
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Angela Merkel has been spotted shaking in public
The remarks come as shock figures showed Germany’s economy had shrank by 0.1 percent in the second quarter, spelling economic disaster for Europe’s largest economy.
Critics said it was a “wake-up call and a warning signal” that Germany could be on the brink of a recession.
It has been a tough few months for the German leader amid health concerns after her third shaking episode in public in a month.
Sources within the CDU said officials are re-considering the timeline which sees Mrs Merkel stand down at the 2021 election to make way for party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.
Angela Merkel has been at the helm of Germany for 14 years
Angela Merkel became German Chancellor in 2005
Mrs Merkel, 65, has been CDU chairwoman since 2000 and giving up the role will start a race within the party to succeed her as chancellor.
She has been at the helm of Germany for 14 years after becoming the German chancellor in 2005.
Mrs Merkel has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, helping guide the EU through the eurozone crisis and opening Germany’s doors to migrants fleeing war in the Middle East in 2015 – a move that still divides the bloc and Berlin.
But her popularity took a battering when her open door policy saw more than one million African and Middle Eastern refugees arrive in Germany in 2015.
Angela Merkel has sparked health fears after a series of public shaking
After huge losses in last year’s elections, Mrs Merkel last summer faced the biggest threat to her power when Horst Seehofer, interior minister and leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), threatened to close Germany’s borders to migrants.
The German leader was forced into a corner when Mr Seehofer threatened to defy her wishes and order police to turn back asylum seekers unless she secured a broader EU deal on distributing migrants more evenly.
When Merkel came into office in 2005, Tony Blair was the UK’s prime minister, George W Bush was US president and Jacques Chirac was in the Elysee Palace in Paris.
And in further woes for Mrs Merkel, Germany’s economy slowed to 0.4 percent in the second quarter from 0.9 percent in the first, Wednesday’s Federal Statistics Office data showed.
Angela Merkel is under pressure as the German economy teeters on the edge of a recession
For 2019 overall, Berlin expects growth of just 0.5 percent.
Andrew Kenningham from Capital Economics said, exporters were facing an even bigger potential hit if a threatened no-deal exit from the EU by Britain.
He added: “The bottom line is that the German economy is teetering on the edge of recession.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg