• Germany's news in English
 

Germany's Merkel praises Thatcher's legacy

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.

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
Baby ducks shut down Autobahn traffic
Stock image of baby ducks running. Photo: DPA.

Baby ducks shut down Autobahn traffic

Police officers and a fire fighter crane were called in to rescue five orphaned baby ducks on Friday, stopping autobahn traffic briefly to escort them to safety. READ  

Taliban release German hostage in Afghanistan
The region of Kunduz in northern Afghanistan. Photo: DPA

Taliban release German hostage in Afghanistan

An employee of the German International Development Agency (GIZ) has been released from captivity in northern Afghanistan after being taken prisoner by the Taliban six weeks ago. READ  

Cameron and Merkel sing from same hymn sheet
Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Cameron arrive at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Cameron and Merkel sing from same hymn sheet

Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron presented a newly united front at a Berlin press conference on Friday, after their first meeting where the UK premier set out his demands for reform of the European Union. READ  

German industry: Brexit would be ‘disastrous’
Photo: DPA

German industry: Brexit would be ‘disastrous’

The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) have told the BBC that if the UK were to leave the EU it would be disastrous for both countries. READ  

At last, Germany has a new Top Model
Vanessa is over the moon. Photo:DPA

At last, Germany has a new Top Model

Everyone can breath easily again. Despite a delay of two weeks due to a bomb threat, Heidi Klum has finally been able to choose Germany’s next top model - a 19-year-old from her own home town. READ  

Steinmeier: corruption poisons football
Steinmeier had harsh words for FIFA. Photo:DPA

Steinmeier: corruption poisons football

Foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that if world football can't clear up "poisonous" corruption, state bodies need to step in, amid a graft scandal engulfing governing body FIFA. READ  

Greece eclipses G7 meeting in Dresden
G7 finance ministers in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Greece eclipses G7 meeting in Dresden

Debt-wracked Greece's battle to hammer out a deal with its creditors dominated a meeting of finance ministers from the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations in Dresden on Thursday, with officials insisting much work still lay ahead. READ  

EU investigates Germany over airport security
Photo: DPA

EU investigates Germany over airport security

The European Commission said on Thursday that it had referred Germany to the EU Court of Justice for failing to regularly check up on its airport security measures at some airports. READ  

Germans want to keep their hands on cash
Germans still trust cash over other forms of payment. Photo: DPA

Germans want to keep their hands on cash

Confirming conservative stereotypes, Germans have come out strongly in favour of sticking to hard cash in conducting transactions, a survey published on Thursday showed. READ  

This week in history
Fassbinder: New German Film's Enfant Terrible
Rainer Fassbinder on set in 1977. Photo: DPA

Fassbinder: New German Film's Enfant Terrible

On Sunday May 31st, Rainer Weiner Fassbinder, one of the most influential German film directors, would have turned 70 - had it not been for his death at the age of 37 in 1982. The Local takes a look back at the life and work of the enfant terrible of New German Cinema. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Fassbinder's blaze of glory
Rhineland
Defusing Cologne's giant WW2 bomb
Travel
1,000 years of Leipzig
National
Cops have nothing to go on after ministry toilet theft
Sport
The hidden history of FC Bayern Munich
Technology
In future, we may all be scraping drones off windshields
National
The 65-year-old who gave birth to quadruplets
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,698
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd