This Wednesday, December 8, a page in German history will turn. After four terms at the head of the country, Angela Merkel leaves the political scene. Her priority, she has said it repeatedly: to take a break after 30 years of political career.
Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world for 16 years, sees herself starting her retirement “with a little sleep”. After that ? The Chancellor’s discretion over her future gives rise to a thousand speculations. This Wednesday, December 8, the Chancellor will hand over to her successor Olaf Scholz, after four terms at the head of Germany.
No more diplomatic summits, crisis meetings, emergency plans against the Covid-19 which filled his days. At 67, Angela Merkel won’t be sorry to leave the hassles of power to others. “I will understand very quickly that all this is now the responsibility of someone else. And I believe that this situation will please me a lot”, she had launched, her eternal smirk, during a trip in Washington this summer. Her priority, she has said it repeatedly: to take a break after 30 years of political career.
During the same intervention in the United States, she already imagined herself “trying to read something”, adding “my eyes will start to close because I am tired, I will sleep a little, and then we will see where it takes me “.
If Angela Merkel left all those who asked her about her plans for the future unsatisfied, it is because she seems sincerely wondering. Since my first term as a deputy, in 1990, just after reunification, “I naturally stopped asking myself what interested me the most outside of politics,” she confided recently during a public meeting.
“I don’t have an infinite amount of time in front of me. This means that I already want to think about what I want to do in the period of life ahead,” she continued. The possibilities are many: “Do I want to write, do I want to talk, do I want to hike, do I want to stay at home, do I want to visit the world ?”.
“I have decided to do nothing for the moment and to wait for the continuation”, she concluded, disappointing once again those who hoped to see her announce a lecture tour, the writing of her memoirs or even a road trip. in the American Rocky Mountains as she had once mentioned. Spotted last week in the sneaker section of a sports department store in Berlin – in a video that went viral on TikTok – Internet users concluded that the leader was preparing an active retirement.
Few of Angela Merkel’s predecessors have remained idle for a long time. Helmut Schmidt, after leaving the Chancellery in 1982, became co-editor of the benchmark weekly Die Zeit. Helmut Kohl and Gerhard Schröder were able to make their experience bear fruit, the first by creating a consulting company, the second through lobbying missions including a controversial role as chairman of the board of directors of the Russian oil giant Rosneft.
Angela Merkel should indeed have more time to enjoy, with her husband Joachim Sauer, what she has sometimes called her “dacha”, this modest house located 80 kilometers north of Berlin, near Templin, in the former East Germany where she grew up. The one who cultivates a profile of “Madam everyone”, little focused on social events, told the weekly Bunte that she liked to plant vegetables and potatoes there.
A program that should not be enough to occupy the seven employees and two drivers made available to her as ex-chancellor, with a monthly pension of around 15,000 euros, according to a calculation by the taxpayer association.
Unless the former scientist embarks on a tour of the countless universities that, from Seoul to Tel Aviv, have awarded her honorary doctorates and to which she has promised to return to discuss further with the students.