Thursday, December 9

“You are a monument”: EU leaders greet Angela Merkel at the “final” summit | European Union

After nearly 16 years and 107 EU summits, Angela Merkel, Germany’s outgoing Chancellor, could have expected more from her fellow leaders than a glass paperweight and praise for being a “monument.”

But in what was expected to be Merkel’s last meeting in Brussels, which addressed issues ranging from energy prices to Poland’s laissez-faire attitude toward EU legislation, former US President Barack Obama at least offered a bit of glamor to the proceedings in a surprise appearance at a farewell. video.

“Thanks to you, the center has weathered many storms,” ​​Obama said in the video broadcast in the summit room of the egg-shaped Europa building in Brussels. “So many people, girls and boys, men and women, have had a role model that they could look up to in difficult times. I know because I am one of them. Many thanks. “

'A role model': Obama pays tribute to Angela Merkel - video
‘A role model’: Obama pays tribute to Angela Merkel – video

Despite her well-known disapproval of an uproar, Merkel received a standing ovation at the end of the two-day meeting from her peers. He was also presented with a glass paperweight reproduction of the Europa building in which he has spent so many nights and early mornings.

When Merkel attended her first EU summit in December 2005, her fellow leaders included Tony Blair. Earlier this week Merkel, the EU’s problem solver, had spoken of her deep grief over Brexit.

In a press conference after the summit on Friday, he warned his peers that the bloc, recently rocked by the Polish government’s claim to be treated as a province in connection with negative rulings about changes to its judiciary, needed to deal with a key question.

“There is the issue of the independence of justice, but it also underlies [the question] … where is the European Union heading, what should be a European competence and what should nation states address? ” she said. “If you look at the history of Poland, it is very understandable that the question of defining its national identity plays an important role … which is a different historical situation to that found in countries that have had democracy since World War II.”

The comments reflected Merkel’s role throughout her tenure as a compromise seeker.

In a speech addressed to her and the other 26 EU heads of state and government, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, offered his own idiosyncratic reflections.

“Your style is your freshness,” he said. “You are a monument.” The EU summits, Michel said, “without Angela is like Rome without the Vatican or Paris without the Eiffel Tower.”

The former Belgian prime minister praised its “extreme sobriety and simplicity.” He added: “This is a very powerful weapon of seduction.”

“I remember our first meeting,” Michel said. “You were very interested in hearing me explain the details of our coalition agreement and the complexity of the Belgian institutions.”

Merkel’s appearance at the summit was also marked by a special “family photo” of the assembled heads of state and government. However, it will only turn out to be the last if talks about the composition of the next German government bear fruit before the next meeting scheduled for December 16.

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