First speech in months
Merkel condemns “barbaric war of aggression”
06/01/2022 10:34 p.m
After almost half a year of public reticence, ex-Chancellor Merkel holds a eulogy for the farewell of DGB boss Hoffmann. She accuses Russia of human rights violations in Ukraine. “Butscha is representative of this horror,” says Merkel.
In her first public speech in around six months, former Chancellor Angela Merkel described the Russian attack on Ukraine as a “profound caesura”. As the off-duty Chancellor, she did not want to make any assessments from the sidelines, Merkel said in the evening in Berlin. But Russia’s invasion of its neighboring country marked too much a blatant breach of international law in the history of Europe after the end of the Second World War.
“My solidarity goes to Ukraine, which was attacked and invaded by Russia, and to supporting their right to self-defense,” said Merkel. She supports all corresponding efforts by the German government, the EU, the USA, NATO, the G7 and the UN “to stop this barbaric war of aggression by Russia”. After months of public reticence, Merkel gave the laudatory speech in front of more than 200 guests at the farewell of long-time DGB boss Reiner Hoffmann.
Among the guests were numerous companions of Hoffmann from politics and trade unions. How far-reaching the consequences of the war would be, no one can seriously estimate, said Merkel. However, they would be significant – especially for Ukrainians. Merkel addressed human rights violations against the population. “Butscha is representative of this horror,” she said, referring to the shootings in the city west of Kyiv. A small but great ray of hope “in this infinite sadness” is the enormous support for the Ukrainians from many neighboring countries – such as Poland and Moldova, as Merkel emphasized by way of example.
Merkel lets go
“We should never take peace and freedom for granted,” Merkel said. In the current situation, the unity of the EU is key. The CDU politician, who did not stand in the Bundestag elections in September, called on people in Germany to make their own contributions to European unity. At the same time, Merkel demonstrated that she was letting go of her former duties. Somehow MPK is already tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, Merkel said. In fact, a prime ministerial conference is taking place this Thursday. Merkel: “I can get through the day without it.”
Merkel and Hoffmann, who led the DGB from 2014, had many points of contact in their respective careers – including at the cabinet meetings at Meseberg Castle. In her “first speech in almost six months,” as she put it herself, Merkel praised the country’s social partnership and called for it to be strengthened. Hoffmann was replaced in May by former SPD general secretary Yasmin Fahimi. When he said goodbye, he announced that he wanted to continue to get involved at European level: “Anyone who counts on me being gone will be disappointed.”