Merkel admits her influence on Putin disappeared at the end of her mandate


“Now I am free,” says the former chancellor after 16 years at the head of the German government and 30 years of political career

Former Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended the construction of the controversial Russian-German gas pipeline «Nord Stream 2», which had been unopened due to the invasion of Ukraine, acknowledging that her influence over Russian President Vladimir Putin faded at the end of his tenure at the In a lengthy interview published this Saturday by the German Newsroom Network (RND), the conservative politician also reveals personal details for the first time after his resignation from power and the end of his long political career aged 30, 16 of them as head of the German government. “Now I am free,” Merkel says with relief, emphasizing that this is a great feeling. “I deserve it, because I think I’ve worked a long time,” she emphasizes, acknowledging that she was “pretty exhausted already” at the end of her political phase, although she didn’t feel “half-dead”. wretch”.

«The price is the renunciation of much of the privacy and availability at all hours. Anytime, any time of the day or night, it doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or New Years. The position was always a priority,” emphasizes the former chairman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) when explaining the personal efforts that her position at the head of the German executive entailed. Even when his mother died in April 2019 , just days before a European Union summit, he had no time to mourn her death. “That is always part of the decision. If there is an EU Council, there is an EU Council. If there is a night session there is a night session. And if I’m not in bed with a fever of 40, I’ll go to the EU Council,” said Merkel, for whom these sacrifices are an inseparable part of any ruler’s work.

The former chancellor expressly defends the construction of the “Nord Stream 2” gas pipeline after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014, thinking mainly of the German economy. “I did not believe in changes through trade, but in relationships through trade, especially with the world’s second nuclear power,” he stresses, explaining that he considered that gas pipeline defensible after the negotiations of the Minsk peace agreement for eastern Ukraine. although it was not an easy decision. “The premise at the time was that when ‘Nord Stream 2’ came into operation, Putin would stop supplying gas through Ukraine or even attack it,” said the former chancellor, then underlined that the West made sure that it gas continued to flow. via Ukraine so that it would continue to pay transit charges. Putin then invaded Ukraine on February 24, despite the fact that ‘Nord Stream 2’ had not yet circulated a cubic meter of gas. “In that sense, the gas was not a weapon,” Merkel said.

He also assures that energy prices were already high then due to the promotion of renewable energy sources, the closure of nuclear power plants in Germany and the beginning of the end of the coal era. “The German economy then decided to transport gas through gas pipelines from Russia because it was economically cheaper than liquefied gas from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and later from the United States,” he adds, pointing out that politically speaking, it was a matter of deciding whether to buy the more expensive and environmentally more controversial liquid gas instead of Russian gas “against the wishes of industry, against the industrial strength of Germany”. The lack of maritime terminals in Germany to receive liquefied gas is also due to the lack of interest from German companies due to the high price.

As for her personal influence over the Kremlin head, the former chancellor admits that it was significantly reduced by the end of her term. “It was clear that he would not be in office much longer and I had to verify that several attempts (to influence him) in the past year had no effect,” Merkel said, not ruling out Putin’s waiting. before his retirement from active politics to begin his military offensive. “My march could have contributed, such as the elections in France, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and the break in the application of the Minsk agreement,” says the conservative politician. “On the other hand, I have not been able to create, together with the Normandy Format, an additional format of the Russian-European dialogue for a European security order,” admits Merkel, who was asked whether she is willing to mediate personally. in the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, he bluntly states that ‘that question does not arise now’.

Reflecting on her personal experiences, Angela Merkel reveals that the most stressful time of her mandate was the refugee crisis of 2015 and 2016, when Germany received more than a million asylum seekers who arrived via the Balkan route. “It was a very tough time, but I felt strong inside,” says the former chancellor, who says the debate that opened then was worthwhile and points out that she had acted inspired by Christian values of the CDU and the German Constitution: «My action in 2015 was based on my party’s C and Article one of the Fundamental Law from my point of view». For Merkel, this is undoubtedly “the most emotional phase of my entire term as chancellor”. Despite the criticism he received at the time from some sectors of society and from his own party, he ruled out that it was “not the lowest point (of his mandate) at all. A conflict over the coronavirus has affected me much more.”

Asked about her plans now that she has time to herself, the East German politician explains that she wants to get to know and travel around the western part of Germany. “I have rarely been to the old states without honoring a commitment. I have not visited places like the Loreley, the meanders of the Moselle, nor have I only been to the cathedrals of Trier and Speyer,” she says, acknowledging that in this new phase of her life she will be able to do many things that normal people do and she doesn’t because of her indictment. “Now I have access to that part of my life that has been closed to me until now. As a person,” said Angela Merkel, who considers it a great honor to have spent three decades as a politician have practiced and emphasizes that she will write a book together with her personal secretary Beate Baumann in which she will discuss her childhood and youth in the former German Democratic Republic.

Source: La Verdad


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