Angela Merkel is out in defense of his legacy after the wave of criticism she received last week before being awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the highest recognition of the State. The former chancellor responded to those who denounced her position as her weakness when it came to dealing with Vladimir Putin’s Russia about the Ukraine that had been dealt with “more intensely” of the question than others who “were not so interested”.
Merkel, who spoke on Saturday from the Leipzig book fair at an event in the weekly Die Zeit, avoided predicting the outcome of the war, but called for “not reducing our thoughts” and contemplating the idea that the invasion of Ukraine may end up at a negotiating table. The former foreign minister, who participated in the Minsk process after the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 together with the then French president François Hollandesaid his efforts to settle the conflict in eastern Ukraine had been “correct”.
“I stand by these diplomatic attempts,” Merkel insisted throughout the conversation. In the first weeks of the invasion, the former chancellor claimed to have tried to prevent the Russian invasion with all the means at her disposal. “That she did not succeed is not proof that it was not correct to try,” she pointed out in response to the criticism that the president of Ukraine launched against her, Volodimir Zelensky.
Merkel only conceded one mistake: not having promoted the target of 2% defense spending marked by NATO allies. “In 2005, 2006 at the latest, we should have said that the Cold War was not over, that we were making a Cold War policy again.” Although in this regard he praised the decisions of his successor, Olaf Schölz: “He is doing things today in such a way that I am very satisfied as a citizen, but then it was different.”
The former leader of the Christian Democrats of the CDU, today under the baton of Friedrich Mertz In opposition, he defended other of the transcendental measures of his decade and a half in government, such as his refugee policy or his energy policy, for which he has also, and above all, received criticism from his fellow ranks.
“I have had to deal with political situations that have caused divided opinions in Germany,” said Merkel fully aware that each decision would bring a strong reaction. “But that’s why I can’t go back on decisions I made for humanitarian reasons.”