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Merkel’s last presser: pandemic, climate change and modernization

Chancellor Angela Merkel answered questions from journalists at her expected last summer press conference after 16 years in office.

Chancellor Angela Merkel answered questions from journalists at her expected last summer press conference after 16 years in office.

The chancellor is not running in the elections set to take place in September.

Asked on Thursday if she already felt nostalgic as her term nears its end, Merkel said in Berlin: “I will be able to start something with time.”

Her last months at the helm of Europe’s biggest economy, however, will be busy.

Not only is the coronavirus pandemic far from over, but the climate crisis is back in the spotlight after devastating floods in western Germany left more than 170 people dead.

“What has always permeated my time in office is that we cannot overcome our challenges with national policies alone, but that we are part of a global whole,” Merkel said.

“Alone we will not be able to change the climate situation. We alone will not be able to fight the pandemic. But the way we do it can be an example for others to follow.”

In 16 years, Merkel believes she only had to deal with crises that did not have their causes in Germany.

Besides the pandemic and the climate issues, Merkel also mentioned the global financial crisis that erupted in 2007 and the eurozone’s ensuing sovereign debt turmoil, along with the mass influx of refugees in 2015.

Looking into the future, the chancellor saw Germany facing challenges in innovation and technological transformations.

With regard to Germany’s struggles to adapt to the digital age, she said: “We are a strong country. But we really have work to do in some places to maintain the high standards we have.”

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