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Germany. Angela Merkel awarded the Order – Grand Cross of Special Performance

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Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was awarded the Grand Cross of Special Design. Only two other Chancellors, Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl, have been awarded this highest German award.

President German Frank-Walter Steinmeier decorated the former chancellor on Monday. In his speech during the ceremony, he emphasized that Merkel had served Germany for 16 years – “with ambition, with wisdom, with passion.”

She worked “for freedom and democracy, for our country and the well-being of its citizens. She worked tirelessly and sometimes to the limit of her physical endurance,” said Steinmeier. In his speech, he also praised Merkel’s “art of negotiation” and her “ability to compromise”.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier decorated former Chancellor Angela Merkel with the Grand Cross of Special DesignFILIP SINGER/PAP/EPA

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Merkel herself selected 20 guests to attend the ceremony at Berlin’s Bellevue Palace. Among them were: her successor, the chancellor Olaf Scholz, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and former comrades such as former Interior Minister Thomas de Mazière. Among the guests was also the former coach of the German national football team, Juergen Klinsmann.

Controversy surrounding Merkel’s award

The decoration for Merkel has been controversial in Germany since the president’s decision was announced in March. The media recall the mistakes of the former chancellor, among others in the policy towards Russia.

– Both Merkel and Steinmeier led the policy towards Russia and Putin, the effects of which everyone is now seeing. The damage has been caused by political earthquakes around the world, and not just since Putin’s genocidal invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 – emphasized prof. Michael Wolffsohn in the “Bild” daily.

With or without the Grand Cross, “today Merkel has become a political anachronism, a symbol of passing, a symbol of a bygone era,” wrote the portal of the daily “Die Welt” on Monday.

In turn, the RND portal noted that Merkel “as chancellor for 16 years steered Germany through all crises. There are few people with comparable life achievements.”

Main photo source: FILIP SINGER/PAP/EPA

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