Angela Merkel Fast Facts

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Here’s a look at the life of the first female chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel.

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Personal

Birth date: July 17, 1954

Birth place: Hamburg, Germany

Birth name: Angela Dorothea Kasner

Father: Horst Kasner, a Lutheran minister

Mother: Herlind Kasner, an English teacher

Marriages: Joachim Sauer (1998-present); Ulrich Merkel (1977-1982, divorced)

Education: University of Leipzig, B.S., 1978; German Academy of Sciences, Ph.D, 1986

Religion: Lutheran

Other Facts

Former Chancellor Helmut Kohl sometimes referred to her as “the girl.”

She is a trained physicist.

Timeline

1978-1990 – Research associate at Zentralinstitut für Physikalische Chemie in Berlin.

1990 – Becomes press officer for Demokratischer Aufbruch (DA or Democratic Awakening).

December 1990 – Is elected to the German Bundestag.

1991 – Is named minister of Women and Young People by Chancellor Kohl and becomes deputy chairperson of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

1994 Minister of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

1998 – General secretary of the CDU.

April 10, 2000 – Becomes the first female chairperson of the CDU.

October 10, 2005 – Strikes a deal with Gerhard Schroeder’s Social Democrats that will make her the first female chancellor of Germany.

November 22, 2005 Is sworn in as the first female chancellor of Germany.

January 13 and 16, 2006 – Meets US President George W. Bush at the White House and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin.

April 30, 2008 Receives the Charlemagne Prize, the “Citizens’ Prize for Services to European Unity.”

June 26, 2009 – Makes first visit to the United States under President Barack Obama’s administration.

September 27, 2009 – Is reelected chancellor of Germany.

February 15, 2011 – Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Obama.

June 17, 2011 – Meets with French President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss a potential Greek bailout plan.

December 5, 2011 – Meets with Sarkozy to announce their proposed plan to impose fiscal discipline on members of the European Union.

September 22, 2013 – Is reelected chancellor of Germany.

October 25, 2013 – In the wake of reports that the US National Security Agency eavesdropped on her cell phone, an angry Merkel says, “true change is necessary,” and “spying among friends is never acceptable.”

December 17, 2013 – Is sworn in for a third term as chancellor of Germany.

June 12, 2015 – Germany’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office says it has dropped a probe into allegations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency had bugged her phone. The office states there was insufficient evidence to launch a successful prosecution.

December 9, 2015 – Is named Person of the Year by Time magazine.

March 17, 2017 – Makes first visit to the United States under President Donald Trump’s administration.

September 24, 2017 – Merkel wins a fourth term as German Chancellor, but her party’s lead in parliament is cut to 33.5%, and the country faces a surge in support for the far right. The hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) becomes the third-largest group in the national parliament.

March 4, 2018 – The Social Democratic Party votes to renew a government coalition with Merkel’s Christian Democrats, paving the way for her fourth term as chancellor and ending the almost half-year of political deadlock and painful negotiations.

April 27, 2018 – Makes her second state visit to the US since Trump has been in office.

October 29, 2018 – Announces she will not seek reelection when her term expires in 2021. That’s after both her party and the Social Democrats suffered heavy losses in state elections in Hesse a day earlier, and after the Christian Social Union, or CSU – the Bavarian sister party to the CDU – lost its majority in the Bavarian state parliament on October 14.

June-July 2019 – Merkel is seen shaking in public three times in less than a month. “I am working through some things…which do not seem to be over yet, but there is progress and I have to live with it for a while,” Merkel reveals, adding, “But I am very well and one does not have to worry.”

March 18, 2020 – In a rare televised message, Merkel tells the German people that the coronavirus pandemic is the nation’s gravest crisis since World War II.

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