Former German chancellor Angela Merkel to release memoir

Angela Merkel will publish her political memories in autumn 2024 after serving for 16 years as chancellor in Germany.

Angela Merkel
A screenshot from a new documentary about Angela Merkel. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/ARTE | --

Ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) wants to publish her political memories in a book in the autumn of 2024, her publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch announced on Thursday.

The memoirs, written together with Beate Baumann, her long-time political adviser, would give an exclusive, personal insight into Merkel’s political life and work, the publisher said.

Merkel wrote in the publisher’s statement: “I am pleased to be able to reflect on the central decisions and situations of my political work in my book, written together with Beate Baumann, and to make them understandable to a broad public, also concerning my personal history.”

Merkel, now 68, did not run for the federal elections last September after 16 years as chancellor. Her party, the CDU, lost to the Social Democrats, who now lead the European country with the liberal FDP party and the Greens.

READ ALSO: ANALYSIS: Are Germans questioning Merkel’s legacy?

Kiepenheuer & Witsch’s Kerstin Gleba explained that Merkel had led the country through dramatic crises and “shaped German and international politics and society in a unique way with her actions and attitude”.

Her memoirs offer “the historic opportunity to gain personal insight into the background and motives of Angela Merkel’s political work and to understand how her political decisions came about”.

Gleba announced: “There is no doubt that an important document of contemporary international history is being created here.”

‘Nothing to apologise for’

Merkel has recently been on the spot for her Russia legacy, defending her years-long policy of detente towards Moscow after the Ukraine war cast a pall on the legacy.

READ ALSO: Merkel says she has ‘nothing to apologise for’ over Russia legacy

In an interview in June, Merkel insisted she had not been naive in her dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Diplomacy isn’t wrong just because it hasn’t worked,” the 67-year-old said. “I don’t have to blame myself for not trying hard enough,” the conservative ex-chancellor said.

“I don’t see that I have to say ‘that was wrong’ and that’s why I have nothing to apologise for.”

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Gorbachev died at a time of ‘failed’ Russian democracy: German Chancellor Scholz

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday hailed Mikhail Gorbachev's role in reuniting Germany but lamented that the last Soviet leader's attempt to establish enduring democracy in Russia had "failed".

Gorbachev died at a time of 'failed' Russian democracy: German Chancellor Scholz

“The democracy movements in central and eastern Europe benefited from the fact he was in power then in Russia,” Scholz said of the years leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

However Gorbachev “died at a time in which democracy has failed in Russia”.

Calling him a “courageous reformer” and “a statesman who dared a lot”, Scholz said his “perestroika”, Gorbachev’s drive to modernise the Soviet economy and society, had paved the way for broader “democracy and freedom in Europe”.

That new wind blowing at the end of the Cold War allowed “Germany to be unified and the Iron Curtain to disappear”, Scholz said.

He regretted the path Russia had taken in the intervening years and that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had “started a terrible war against a neighbour, Ukraine.

“That is all the more reason why we think of Mikhail Gorbachev and know what significance he had for the development of Europe and our own country in the last years.”     

Asked later whether he would consider attending Gorbachev’s funeral in Russia, which is subject to sweeping Western sanctions over the war in Ukraine, Scholz said it was “too soon” to discuss such a trip.

“But I will say that I hope he will be honoured in the way he deserves,” Scholz said.

Former German chancellor Angela Merkel paid tribute Gorbachev as a “unique world politician” who demonstrated how “one single statesman can change the world for the better”.

“The images of his meeting with (West German) chancellor Helmut Kohl in the Caucasus in 1990 are unforgettable, with which Germany reunification in peace and freedom also came within reach,” said Merkel, who grew up in East Germany.

“Mikhail Gorbachev also fundamentally changed my life. I will never forget that.”

READ ALSO: 10 things you never knew about German reunification

Several other German politicians also paid tribute to the Russian Nobel Peace Prize laureate shortly after his death.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a tweet: “Gorbachev was guided by peace and understanding between people at fateful moments in our history. The end of the Cold War and German unity are his legacy. We mourn the loss of a statesman to whom we are eternally grateful.”

Without Gorbachev, “the peaceful revolutions in the countries of the Eastern bloc, in our country, would not have been conceivable in this way,” said Bundestag Vice President and Green Party politician Katrin Göring-Eckardt on Twitter.

“His words have encouraged us, have made me, strong.”