German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s New Year’s greetings were eagerly awaited on Thursday, December 31, across the Rhine. If it was indeed a speech to invite his fellow citizens to welcome the New Year, they also had the color of twilight for the current Chancellor, still young – she is 66 years old – but who will step down in the fall of 2021, at the end of her third term (she became Chancellor in 2005).
“Winter remains difficult”
The “Historical crisis” of the coronavirus is expected to continue in 2021, even if the vaccine provides“Hope”, wished to warn Angela Merkel from the outset, dressed for the occasion in a bronze blouse, the German and European flags on her left, an image of the night front of the Bundestag behind her. “These days and weeks (…) are difficult times for our country. And it will last a long time ”, said the Chancellor in her speech in the dark tone, referring to “Something that happens once every hundred years”. “Winter remains difficult”, she added.
→ REPORT. Covid-19: Germany between hope of vaccination and call for patience
Unlike what happened in the spring, in fact, Germany is hit first and foremost, and for the time being more than its European neighbors, by the second wave of the coronavirus, so that the government had to decree a new partial confinement at least until January 10.
In total, 33,791 people succumbed to the virus in Germany in 2020, or just over half of France (64,632), but these figures are currently soaring, according to the latest figures from the Robert health watch institute. Koch (RKI). And Germany, for the first time on Tuesday, December 29, crossed the symbolic threshold of a thousand deaths recorded in a single day (1,122), although with, no doubt, a catch-up effect, the regional health authorities having previously sent incomplete data due to Christmas holidays.
“Cynical and cruel” conspiracy theories
“The challenges posed to us by the pandemic remain immense”, nonetheless insisted Angela Merkel, thanking the vast majority of Germans for having respected the instructions for reducing contacts aimed at combating the spread of the virus, and the front-line staff, who “Surpassed” since the beginning of the crisis.
The Chancellor castigated the movement of “corona-skeptics” in the country, which stood out in 2020 by several major demonstrations, partly accompanied by violence. “I can only imagine the bitterness felt by those who mourn a loved one because of the coronavirus, or those who continue to suffer from after-effects, when the existence of the virus is contested or denied by some”, she said, denouncing in passing the ” conspiracy theories “ : “Not only false and dangerous, they are also cynical and cruel towards these people”.
Angela Merkel still wanted to give hope to her fellow citizens, by evoking the start of vaccinations in the country and in Europe, in retirement homes and nursing staff. “We have never, despite the concerns, been so eager to enter a new year”, she judged.
A year which, for itself, will end with a goodbye tune. Angela Merkel will step aside after the legislative elections on September 26, in circumstances which, for the time being, resemble an immense fog: no one, at this stage, can say who will deliver this speech in her place, on December 31, 2021 Nor what will be the color of this speech …