Chancellor Merkel Focuses on Pandemic and Climate Issues before Her Retirement

On Friday, August 28, 2020, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that she expected her dedication and policies to fight ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would define her last year in office and warned that the pandemic would turn worse in coming months. She also stressed that normal life would not be possible without a vaccine and promised to continue fighting the pandemic before her retirement.

Merkel, who is also the longest-serving candidate in Western Europe, further reminded the need to fight against global warming and called for more dialogues on climate issues among the major powers. Calling for a more stringent approach for climate change, she argued that the current global efforts to combat climate change are insufficient and insisted on the European Union (EU) to adjust its climate goals. With the rising number of the new COVID-19 cases in the country, the leader urged the people to take the pandemic more seriously as there was no certainty that this would end soon.

Markel’s policy and New COVID-19 Cases

Reflecting on the growing number of the virus cases over the recent weeks, the leader told in a news conference on Friday, “This is a serious matter, as serious as it’s ever been, and you need to carry on taking it seriously.” Despite the country is now facing a new wave of virus cases, the Merkel government has performed well in terms of handling the pandemic crisis as compared to other countries in Europe. Besides conducting rigorous testing and maintaining the lower rate of the virus death, the government also sought plans to foster social cohesion in the face of the pandemic, focusing on protecting children and other vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and low-income families, from its effects.

Regarding the question of vaccine, she said that the EU and drug companies were “in the works” in the global race to find a cure for the viral disease. Yet, she declared that the European Commission secured at least 300 million doses of British drugmaker AstraZeneca’s potential treatment this week despite the drug has to go phase III trials.

Other Emerging Issues

Europe under Merkel’s leadership has brought remarkable change and the EU had gone through a political and economical crisis since her entry into politics in 2005. Being a dominant figure in world affairs and in Europe, Markel has been calling for more coordination among world leaders in addressing the issues including climate change.

Merkel persisted that the EU needed to adjust climate goals it has set for 2030 and that she wanted a carbon pricing mechanism for the industry and transport sectors as a part of combating the issue. She further shared her view that Europe must open channels for communication and discuss the issues forwarded by China and Russia.

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In response to a question about her vacation after retirement, she said, “This is not the time to book such trips. I am fully occupied with the current time,” referring to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 situations. She continued that nobody could foresee how the situation would develop in the winter. Merkel has decided to end from her political career before the next national election to be scheduled in October 2021.