Merkel bids farewall to Facebook ahead of planned exit from politics

German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced Friday she would close her Facebook account, taking another step in a long farewell from politics in her final term in office.

Merkel bids farewall to Facebook ahead of planned exit from politics
Angela Merkel at the CDU conference in December, when she stepped down as party leader. Photo: DPA

In a short video, Merkel thanked her more than 2.5 million followers on the social media site and asked them to keep watching her work on her official government site and on Instagram.

Having run the biggest EU economy since 2005, Merkel last year stood down as party leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a post now held by her preferred successor, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

“Today is the day I would like to thank you for supporting my Facebook page in great numbers,” Merkel said. “You know I am no longer CDU leader, so I will now close my Facebook page.”

Although some observers have speculated Merkel may in future seek a senior UN or EU post, the 64-year-old has signalled she will not go for a new political job after her term ends in 2021.

SEE ALSO: End of an era: What  you need to know about Merkel's planned departure

Merkel has served a marathon stretch as chancellor but faced major domestic headwinds after her 2015 decision to keep open German borders to a mass influx of mostly Muslim refugees, many from war-torn Syria.

While many wished her well in the Facebook comments section Friday, others vented their anger by demanding she quickly bow out of the chancellery as well.

Merkel, who is not on Twitter, had only occasionally used the Facebook page.

In its “about” section, the site said Merkel enjoys the writings of Fyodor Dostoevsky, the music of Richard Wagner and the Beatles, the German crime TV show “Tatort” and the movie “Out Of Africa”.

While her listed hobbies are gardening, hiking and cooking, her personal “dream” may offer a clue to her retirement plans: “a trip with the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Vladivostok”.

As her favourite quotation, Facebook lists a sentence from post-war CDU chancellor Konrad Adenauer: “Politics is not about just being right, but about being proven right in the end.”

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Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

It's official - people in Germany will get cheap public transport for three months this summer after the €9 ticket was approved.

Germany approves €9 public transport ticket for summer

As part of a host of energy relief measures to cushion the cost of living crisis, the German government is offering cheap public transport for the months of June, July and August. 

Monthly tickets will be available at a price of €9 (or €27 for all three months) and they will allow people to use all buses, trains and trams in local and regional transport throughout the country.

So even if people buy the ticket in Munich, they will also be able to use local and regional buses, trains and trams elsewhere in Germany, whether it’s Hamburg or Cologne. 

READ ALSO: How to explore Germany by train with the €9 ticket

The ticket will not be valid, however, on long-distance transport such as ICE trains or Flixbus.

The offer was put together by the coalition government – made of the Social Democrats, the Greens and the FDP.

The Bundestag voted for the initiative on Thursday, agreeing to give federal states a subsidy of €2.5 billion to fund the project. 

And on Friday, the Bundesrat – the upper house of parliament that represents the states – gave the green light to the ticket, paving the way for it to begin on June 1st. 

States had wanted an extra €1.5 billion funding boost to deal with lost revenue, however it would have been hugely controversial if they had blocked it.

READ ALSO: German states threaten to block the €9 ticket in the Bundesrat

During a debate on Thursday, federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) said the €9 project was “already a success”.

“All of Germany is talking about local public transport,” he said, adding that it is also being viewed with interest abroad. 

READ ALSO: ‘Fantastic’: Your verdict on Germany’s €9 ticket

The Left party (Die Linke) voted in favour of the €9 ticket, but leader Bernd Riexinger said he thought the plan didn’t go far enough. “Three months is simply too little,” he said.

The opposition, however, slammed the move. Christian Democrat Michael Donth called it an “expensive experiment”.

Rail operator Deutsche Bahn will offer the ticket for sale as early as Monday. Local public transport providers across the country are also preparing their ticket machines for the initiative. It will also be available in travel centres.

People with subscriptions to local transport will automatically benefit from the offer. 

In some regions, such as Stuttgart and Freiburg, the ticket is already available for purchase.

READ ALSO: How to get a hold of the €9 ticket in Berlin