German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier presents the Special Class Grand Cross of the Order of Merit to former German Chancellor Angela Merkel on April 17, 2023 in Berlin. JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP
During her long reign at the head of the German government (2005-2021), Angela Merkel often had to fight more against her own camp than against her political adversaries. Since his departure from power, things have not changed, as recalled, Monday, April 17, the reactions aroused by the presentation to the ex-chancellor of the special class Grand Cross of the Order of Merit by the President of the Federal Republic, the Social Democrat Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Vice-president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the party that Angela Merkel led from 2000 to 2018, Carsten Linnemann did not mince his words. “Of course Mrs. Merkel had great merits, especially internationally. But she also made glaring mistakes,” the former spokesperson for SMEs within the party told NTV on Monday.
Among these “errors”, Mr Linnemann cited the former Chancellor’s migration policy during the 2015 refugee crisis, “which prevented our borders from being protected”, but also her choice to get out of nuclear power after the disaster of Fukushima, in 2011. A decision taken “without saying how we were going to supply ourselves with energy more or less autonomously”, lamented the vice-president of the CDU, who was speaking two days after the closure of the last three nuclear power plants. of the country still in operation.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Germany says goodbye to its last nuclear power plants
“Biggest political mistake since 1945”
“To hand over the Grand Cross to Angela Merkel a year and a half after the end of her mandate is a fault”, also estimated the chairman of the CDU’s fundamental values commission, Andreas Rödder, in a column in the daily Tagesspiegel. Responsible for steering the drafting of the new party program, scheduled for mid-June to replace the previous one, which dates from 2007, this history professor at the University of Mainz notably criticizes the ex-chancellor for having “rested prosperity on public aid that the State will not be able to provide in the long term” and of having shown itself to be too benevolent towards Russia, “the biggest mistake in foreign policy since 1945”.
Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In Bavaria, around the Isar 2 nuclear power plant, which must close on Saturday, a “very sad day” for local residents
For the presentation of her Grand Cross special class – a rank that only her predecessors Konrad Adenauer, in 1954, and Helmut Kohl, in 1998, received before her – Angela Merkel had not invited any current leader of the CDU, to begin by its president, Friedrich Merz, with whom it has always had a terrible relationship.
On Monday, only a few members of his party were present in the reception hall of the Château Bellevue, seat of the Presidency of the Republic, including Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, who sat in all her governments, or her former ministers Peter Altmaier and Thomas de Maizière. Without forgetting a few faithful, like his ex-spokesman Steffen Seibert, now ambassador to Israel, or the former coach of the German football team Jürgen Klinsmann.
You have 38.31% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.