Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says in her traditional New Year’s speech that it is in the interests of Germany to assume more responsibility worldwide, at a time when multilateralism is under pressure.

In her speech, which is broadcast at 6 pm, Merkel observes that the old certainties surrounding international cooperation are being put to the test. But no global challenge – such as climate change, migration or the fight against terrorism – can only be solved by one country, she warns.

“In our own interest we have to take more responsibility”, she continues. According to the Federal Chancellor, Germany, which will occupy one of the seats of the non-permanent members of the UN Security Council in 2019 and 2020, will campaign for “global solutions”. Merkel also promises to increase humanitarian aid and development aid, as well as the defence budget. Although she does not name the American president Donald Trump by name, her message is clearly meant as a criticism of Trump’s unilateralism.

Challenges

Merkel also says that she is determined to make the European Union more robust and able to make decisions. “And with Great Britain we want to maintain close cooperation despite the withdrawal from the European Union,” she adds.

As far as internal politics is concerned, Merkel recognizes that many Germans do not like the government coalition that took office in March, an alliance between its conservative bloc of CDU and CSU and the Social Democratic SPD. “But we can only meet the challenges of our time if we stay together, and work together with others across borders,” she adds.

Million refugees

In 2015 Merkel decided to open the borders for more than one million refugees, mainly war refugees from the Middle East. Dissatisfaction about this decision led to the advance of the antimigration party ‘Alternative für Deutschland’ (AfD). The party made its entry into the Bundestag at last year’s federal elections, which broke the political landscape in Germany.

Merkel has given up the leadership of her party CDU to take away the dissatisfaction in her party. She wants to finish her mandate as Chancellor, something she refers to in her New Year’s speech.

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