Angela Merkel

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The state has to assist and must not constrict. In this spirit it has to be the gardener and not the fence.

Angela Dorothea Merkel (born 17 July 1954) is the Chancellor of Germany. She assumed office in 2005 as chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).


The yearning for freedom cannot be contained by walls for long.
Living in freedom and defending freedom are two sides of one and the same coin, for the precious gift of freedom doesn’t come naturally, but has to be fought for, nurtured, and defended time and time again.
Neither the chains of dictatorship nor the fetters of oppression can keep down the forces of freedom for long.
Tolerance means showing respect for other people's history, traditions, religion and cultural identity.
Without freedom the human mind is prevented from unleashing its creative force.
Freedom does not come about of itself. It must be struggled for and then defended anew every day of our lives.
  • Also today, the yearning for freedom may well make totalitarian regimes tremble and fall. We have followed with great interest and empathy the profound changes in North Africa and in the Arab world. Freedom is indivisible. Each and every one has the same right to freedom, be it in North Africa or Belarus, in Myanmar or Iran. Still, the struggle for freedom is demanding far too many sacrifices, and claiming far too many victims. My thoughts are with our soldiers, our policemen, and the many, many volunteers who try to help. I humbly bow to all those who risk their lives for the cause of freedom.
  • We see that living in freedom and defending freedom are two sides of one and the same coin, for the precious gift of freedom doesn’t come naturally, but has to be fought for, nurtured, and defended time and time again. Sometimes this may seem like an endless fight against windmills. But you see, my personal experience is a quite different one. What we dare not dream of today may well become reality tomorrow. Neither the chains of dictatorship nor the fetters of oppression can keep down the forces of freedom for long.
  • Nicht die Welt muss dem Iran nachweisen, dass er eine Bombe baut, sondern der Iran muss die Welt überzeugen, dass er die Atombombe nicht will.
    • Translation: The world does not have to prove to Iran that Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Iran has to convince the world that it is not striving towards such a bomb.
    • At the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, 2007
  • Aber Demokratie ist nicht immer eine Sache von einsamen Entscheidungen, sondern in der Regel ein Geschäft der Meinungsbildung vieler.
    • Translation: However democracy is not always a matter of unilateral decisions, but normally a business of opinion formation of many.
    • Interview in the Berliner Zeitung ( on November 7, 2007
  • Und so wünsche ich mir, dass die Bürgerinnen und Bürger Europas in 50 Jahren sagen werden: Damals, in Berlin, da hat das vereinte Europa die Weichen richtig gestellt. Damals, in Berlin, da hat die Europäische Union den richtigen Weg in eine gute Zukunft eingeschlagen. Sie hat anschließend ihre Grundlagen erneuert, um nach innen, auf diesem alten Kontinent, wie nach außen, in dieser einen großen-kleinen Welt, einen Beitrag zu leisten.
    • Translation: And therefore I wish, that in 50 years the citizens of Europe will say: At that time, in Berlin, the united Europe has set the course correctly. At that time, in Berlin, the European Union has pursued a good future. Then it has renewed its fundamentals to make its contribution inwards, on this old continent, as well as outwards, in this big-small world.
    • Speech at the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome on March 25, 2007
  • Der Staat muss fördern und darf nicht einschränken. In diesem Sinne muss er Gärtner sein und nicht Zaun. Wir sollten den Menschen zutrauen, dass sie sich engagieren und Verantwortung übernehmen wollen.
    • Translation: The state has to assist and must not constrict. In this spirit it has to be the gardener and not the fence. We should be confident that the people want to get [socially] involved and want to assume responsibility.
    • Interview in the Süddeutsche Zeitung ( on May 20, 2006
  • Es ist wahr: Europa ist kein Christenklub. Aber wahr ist auch: Europa ist ein Grundwerteklub. Hier bei uns gelten Menschen- und Bürgerrechte. Diese Menschen- und Bürgerrechte beruhen bei uns ganz wesentlich auf dem Menschenbild des Christentums.
    • Translation: It is true: Europe is no club of christians. But the following is also true: Europe is a club of core values. Here Human and Civil Rights apply. These Human and Civil Rights substantially are based on the christian idea of man.
    • Speech at the 20th federal party convent of the CDU in the Dresdner Frauenkirche on November 27, 2006
  • Ich denke an dichte Fenster! Kein anderes Land kann so dichte und so schöne Fenster bauen.
    • Translation: I am thinking of airtight windows! No other country can build such airtight and beautiful windows.
    • Anwering the question what emotions Germany arouses in her, Interview in the BILD-Zeitung on November 29, 2004
  • This is a good day for the world's children. Children who today have no right to their own childhood, to education, to personal inviolability, have with these two representatives, these prize winners, got a voice both for the right to education — particularly for girls — and against unfair and exploitative child labor.
  • I understand why he has to do this; to prove he's a man... He's afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.
  • Personally I think that Austria’s unilateral decision, and then those made subsequently by Balkan countries, will obviously bring us fewer refugees, but they put Greece in a very difficult situation. If we do not manage to reach a deal with Turkey, then Greece cannot bear the weight for long. That’s why I am seeking a real European solution, that is, a solution for all 28 (E.U. members)

Joint Press Conference (November 17, 2016)[edit]

Remarks by President Obama and Chancellor Merkel of Germany in a Joint Press Conference (November 17, 2016)
  • Globalization -- and I think we share this conviction -- is that globalization needs to be shaped politically. It needs to be given a human face. But we cannot allow to fall back into pre-globalization times. So this conclusion of trade agreements that go beyond the scope of mere tariff agreements, customs agreements, are most important.
  • For us Europeans, Africa as a neighboring continent is of prime importance. The development of African countries is in our very own vested interest. We, as Germans, but also we, as members of the European Union, will have to deal with this.
  • The European Union as a whole, but also Germany, needs to recognize that this is our alliance, our common alliance, our transatlantic alliance, that we have to step up our engagement. Because, in the long run, we will not be allowed to accept this imbalance as regards the contributions we give to this alliance. And we have understood this message, and we have started to react.
  • We work very closely together on the issue of annexation of Crimea and Russia’s attempt to actually conquer Ukraine. And actually they did so -- conquered part of the territory. We tried to come to a peaceful settlement here on this.
  • Our interests are very much aligned. Our attempts of cooperation are very much aligned.
  • We have a platform -- democracy, freedom, respect of human rights -- that we would like to see respected all over the world, and also a peaceful world order. We have shared those values; we continue to share those values. And obviously we will continue to cooperate with the new administration.
  • Is all about the American people, it’s about the destiny of the American people, the outgoing administration is sharing its knowledge, its expertise with the incoming administration. And this to us is a sign of encouragement to continue the good cooperation that we have built between the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany. And that is in our mutual interest.
  • The fact that for over 70 years, we have been able to enjoy peace, to live in peace very much depends on territorial integrity and sovereignty of each and every European country being respected. In view of the European history, the reverse would be the start of a very bitter road down a slippery slope, and we have to nip this in the bud. We have to stand up resolutely against any such attempts.
  • In this world of today, you cannot, when you just stand on your own, achieve much -- even though you may be economically strong. So alliances are part of our destiny as a nation, part of our future as a nation. And this is what guides me in my policy, what guides my government as a whole.
  • Digitization is, in a way, a disruptive force, a disruptive technological force that brings about deep-seated change, transformation of a society. Look at the history of the printing press -- when this was invented, what sort of consequences this had. Or industrialization -- what sort of consequences that had. Very often it led to enormous transformational processes within individual societies, and it took a while until societies learned how to find the right kind of policies to contain this and to manage and steer this. And I think we live in a period of profound transformation, very similar to when we had a translation from agricultural societies to industrial societies.
  • Those that belong purportedly to certain groups say, we are the people, and not the others -- that is something that we cannot allow to happen. That is something that I think, at the time when we had this in the GDR, when the people stood in the street and said, we are the people -- that was something that filled me with great joy. But the fact that this people have hijacked it is not something that fills me with great joy. We have to find new ways of addressing people, new ways of getting into contact with people. But I'm optimistic that we'll be able to do so.
  • There is an interest of the Federal Republic of Germany to cooperate well with the United States of America. This goes for each and every President on the basis of shared values, and I believe that these are, indeed, shared values, and should be shared values.
  • Assad as President has actively tried to kill his own people. He has bombed them with barrel bombs in a most terrible way. He has brought untold suffering over his people -- if you look at Aleppo and other places. When you talk to the many Syrian refugees who have fled here to Germany, they will be able to tell you their own personal story, and the majority of them -- the great majority of them -- fled from Assad, and most of them not even fled the IS. So I don’t see him as an ally.


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