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 a German retired politician and scientist who served as the chancellor of Germany from 2005 to 2021. A member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), she previously served as leader of the Opposition from 2002 to 2005 and as Leader of the Christian Democratic Union from 2000 to 2018. Merkel was the first female chancellor of Germany. During her tenure as Chancellor, Merkel was frequently referred to as the de facto leader of the European Union (EU) and the most powerful woman in the world.


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.


  • Some of our opponents cannot help putting ourselves in the extreme right corner in the immigration discussion just because we draw attention to the danger of parallel societies in connection with immigration. That, dear friends, is the pinnacle of mendacity, and one such hypocrisy will collapse like a house of cards in front of people. That is why we will continue to demand regulated control and limitation of immigration.
  • 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.
    • Answering the question what emotions Germany arouses in her, Interview in the BILD-Zeitung on November 29, 2004
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Wenn wir uns jetzt noch entschuldigen müssen dafür, dass wir in Notsituationen ein freundliches Gesicht zeigen, dann ist das nicht mein Land"
    • Translation: If we must now have to apologize for showing a friendly face in times of crisis, then this is not my country.
    • Merkel during a press conference on September 15, 2015 "Dan ist das nicht mein Land, September 15, 2015.
  • Ist mir egal, ob ich schuld am Zustrom der Flüchtlinge bin, nun sind sie halt da.
    • Translation: I do not care whether it is my fault that the inflow of refugees is happening, now they are here.
    • At an internal meeting of the CDU/CSU parties on September 22, 2015, "The Union rejects to follow Merkel", September 27, 2015.
  • Es liegt nicht in meiner Macht – und nicht in der Macht irgendeines Menschen in Deutschland – zu bestimmen, wie viele Menschen hierher kommen.

Joint press conference of 17 November 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.
  • Der Terror ist Teil des Alltags unserer Städte.


Quotes about Angela Merkel[edit]

  • No major US ally has been spared from the president's indignities. In private, he pillories partner nations and their leaders and is not shy about doing the same in the open, as in the case of his comment about the Canadian prime minister being "very dishonest & weak," only hours after being hosted by the northern neighbor. He's done the same with France, mocking President Emmanuel Macron on Twitter for his low approval ratings and high unemployment, and with Germany, criticizing Chancellor Angela Merkel's administration for failing to reduce crime and accusing its leaders of being freeloaders that take advantage of US generosity.
    • Anonymous, A Warning (2019), p. 175
  • In many parts of the world, politicians can no longer claim that they do not have the social mandate for taking the climate crisis seriously: citizens are clearly calling for a strong government response, with high levels of public concern about climate change and wide-ranging support for policies to cut emissions. In recognition of this, some senior politicians have actively encouraged citizen activism that pushes them to do more, for example Angela Merkel when she was Chancellor asking young Germans to 'pile on the pressure', and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon acknowledging that 'our feet do need to be held to the fire'.
  • Europe was less distracted and divided by disinformation campaigns from fossil fuel companies and emerged early on as a global leader on the climate issue...In Germany - another of Europe's major greenhouse-gas-emitting nations - the Green Party had been growing in influence since the mid-1980s, causing the two major political parties there to adopt environmental and energy goals, which Angela Merkel, a former chemist, continued to pursue after her ascension to Chancellor in 2005. Thus, when the US stepped back from leadership on the climate issue, the European Union, led by the UK and Germany as well as the Netherlands and its Scandinavian member states, partly filled the void and pushed for global action to address the problem. Benefitting from German reunification and the collapse of the former East Germany's emissions, and those from other former Soviet states, the EU achieved the target it agreed to at Kyoto.
  • Speaking from the European parliament, Sandell said, “What we have found out, something I heard for quite some time already, from central and eastern European countries that would have an inclination to move their embassy to Jerusalem, this is the natural thing for them to do, is that they have received phone calls from Berlin, from Angela Merkel, the chancellor. Basically, this cannot happen under any circumstances. I have spoken to many Germans these last few days in Brussels,” he said. “They are not aware of this, and all of them would be shocked that all of the countries in the European Union today would want to block an embassy move to Jerusalem, not only for your own country, but for other countries that have the conviction [that] this is the right thing to do, the only country to do would be Germany. This is a big shock.”

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