• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Germany's Merkel praises Thatcher's legacy

The Local · 8 Apr 2013, 20:18

Published: 08 Apr 2013 16:11 GMT+02:00
Updated: 08 Apr 2013 20:18 GMT+02:00

"She was an extraordinary leader in global politics of her time," Merkel said in a statement. "I will never forget her part in surmounting the division of Europe and at the end of the Cold War."

Merkel, a fellow conservative who was often compared to Thatcher when she became chancellor in 2005, said Thatcher would not be remembered as a "female politician" but one who had blazed a trail for women in the halls of power.

"As she took the highest democratic offices as a woman before that was common, she set an example for many," Merkel said.

She said that Thatcher's values and principles served as a beacon while Europe was still divided into opposing blocs.

"The liberty of the individual stood at the heart of her convictions - Margaret Thatcher recognized the power of the freedom movements of Eastern Europe early on and lent them her support," she said.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle praised Margaret Thatcher as a visionary leader who refashioned European politics.

“We will look upon her life's work with admiration,” he said, adding that she had shaped not only British politics but that of Europe and the entire world.

“She has left behind a huge legacy in European and global history,” said Westerwelle, who belongs to the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP).

Germany's ex-chancellor Helmut Kohl also had fond words for Thatcher.

"I greatly valued Margaret Thatcher for her love of freedom, her incomparable openness, honesty and straightforwardness," Kohl, considered the father of Germany's 1990 reunification, said in a written statement.

Kohl, 83, who governed Germany for a record 16 years, said fellow conservative Thatcher was "an upstanding fighter and representative of the interests of her country."

He referred to their "special relationship", adding "we always had our ups and downs. And despite all the different opinions on many an issue, we had however until the end, above all, a respectful rapport."

Kohl was a driving force behind European enlargement and integration in the years after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 leading to German reunification which Thatcher initially vehemently opposed.

Shortly after news broke that Thatcher had died, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he would be cancelling the rest of his tour of Europe which he started in Madrid this week.

Story continues below…

He was supposed to be pressing his case for reform of the European Union ahead of a referendum on his own country's membership of the bloc. Instead, he will pay his respects to Britain's first female premier at her funeral in London.

Cameron was meant to visit Berlin at the end of the week for "further discussions about taking forward his (EU) reform agenda," Downing Street said.

Britain sent shockwaves through the EU in January after Cameron set out plans to wrest back powers from Brussels and to then put Britain's reshaped membership to an in-out referendum by the end of 2017.

AFP/DPA/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Germany grapples with enigma of Munich gunman
A debate is already underway as to whether Germany's gun laws, which are already strict, should be tightened further. Photo: AFP

Investigators were seeking clues on Sunday into the mind of gunman David Ali Sonboly, the teen author of one of Germany's bloodiest killing sprees.

Munich shooting
 Social media a blessing and a curse in Munich shooting
The Munich gunman may have hacked a Facebook account to lure some of the victims to the McDonald's fast-food outlet where the shooting began. Photo: DPA

Social networks were both a curse and a blessing in the deadly shopping mall shooting in Munich, as police sometimes found themselves chasing fictitious leads and false alarms.

Munich shooting
Munich pulls together after shopping mall shooting
Photo: DPA

In the chaos after the Munich mall shooting, city residents spontaneously offered shelter to strangers - a move that Chancellor Angela Merkel said showed that Germany's strength lies in its values.

Munich shooting
Merkel deplores 'night of horror' in Munich
Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Munich had suffered a "night of horror" after a shooting spree in the southern German city left nine people dead.

Munich shooting
Munich attacker was shy video game fan
People laying flowers at the site of the shootings. Photo: DPA.

David Ali Sonboly was a quiet, helpful teenager who loved playing video games. His neighbours say there were no warning signs before his deadly rampage at a Munich shopping mall.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman inspired by rightwing Breivik: police
Photo: DPA

The lone teenager who shot dead nine people in a gun rampage in Munich was "obsessed" with mass killers such as Norwegian rightwing fanatic Anders Behring Breivik and had no links to the Islamic State group, police said Saturday.

Munich shooting
Turks, Kosovans and a Greek among shooting victims
Photo: DPA

Three Turkish citizens were among the nine people killed in Germany's Munich mall shooting. Three Kosovans were also among the nine victims.

Munich shooting
Munich gunman was likely not Isis terrorist: police
Flowers laid at the Olympia Shopping Centre underground station. Photo: DPA

According to initial investigations by Munich police, the young man who went on a shooting rampage in Munich on Friday evening was a lone gunman without motive, not a terrorist.

Munich shooting
'Lone' Munich shooter kills nine, commits suicide
Photo: DPA

A teenage German-Iranian gunman who killed nine people in a shooting spree at a busy Munich shopping centre and then committed suicide had likely acted alone, German police said Saturday.

As it happened
Nine dead in shooting rampage in Munich
File photo: DPA

Nine people are dead after "at least one person" went on a shooting spree in a Munich shopping centre on Friday evening. An attacker is believed to be among the dead.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Nice was an attack on France, not on Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Bavaria train attack: Were police right to shoot to kill?
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
10,713
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd