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Germany: Merkel at CDU Congress, “uniting the nation, Europe, generations, natives and immigrants is the most important thing today”

Angela Merkel delivered her last speech as president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Hamburg, at the opening of the 31st Congress that will elect who will succeed her as the leader of a Party that has currently about 420,000 members. “Today and tomorrow, we want to pave the way for the future, both with regard to the agenda and to the people”, the German Chancellor told the 1,001 delegates at the Congress (343 women and 658 men). When she climbed onto the stage to open the Congress, Angela Merkel was welcomed by a long standing ovation; her speech, too, was followed by a 9-minute round of applause. In her farewell address, the Chancellor thanked those who had accompanied, supported and assisted her. She also joked about what is “typical of Merkel”, like the title of the Congress “unite and lead together”. “Uniting”, Germany, Europe, generations, natives and immigrants is the most important thing today, but also “leading together”, with “our roots”, the “Christian understanding of the person”. Being a Conservative does not mean “to preserve”, but “to protect and change”. In her sober yet friendly address, she remembered George Bush and Helmut Kohl. Merkel said we should “never forget” what it means to be a Christian Democrat: “to define, but never to exclude, to discuss, but never to hate or humiliate, to make no distinctions in terms of human dignity, to serve the people of our country”. “For over 18 years, I have been the leader of this great, proud, and unique party, and it has been a great pleasure for me, an honour”. “Thanks for your 18 years as CDU leader”, many posters at the Congress read.

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