‘I could also see her going more to the opera’ – what next for Angela Merkel?

Merkel this week concluded her attendance at her final Cop summit as Germany’s leader, marking more than a quarter-century as an international figure, writes Borzou Daragahi

Sunday 07 November 2021 13:46
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<p>Germany’s outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel</p>

Germany’s outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel

More than 26 years ago, at what was the world’s first Cop summit on climate change in Berlin, diplomats and others were impressed by a rising star in German politics who was then serving as the country’s environment minister.

The minister, who was elected to preside over the summit, seemed to understand the significance of the meeting. In her opening speech, she described climate protection as one of the world’s greatest political challenges, noted that industrialised nations’ obligations were inadequate and said major shifts must be put into place.

Angela Merkel, then a 40-year-old quantum physicist-turned-politician, quietly built alliances, hammered out details along the sidelines of the summit and won over sceptics to get a climate deal signed. It would later be hailed as the future German chancellor’s first successful foray into international diplomacy. And it would not be her last.

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