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Former Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel received her nation’s highest honor Monday – becoming only the third leader to claim the award.
Merkel received the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit from German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at a ceremony in Berlin.
Merkel, speaking at the award ceremony, said, “People often talk about what a snake pit politics is. I may say I wouldn’t have survived it if there wasn’t the other side of politics. And that’s why I’ve always been able to enjoy it.”
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German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier awards the Grand Cross to former Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on April 17, 2023. (Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Merkel served as chancellor of Germany for 16 years, from 2005 to 2021.
She was the country’s first female chancellor and one of the most powerful voices in the European Union.
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Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks after she was awarded the Grand Cross at the Bellevue presidential palace in Berlin on April 17, 2023. (John MacDougall/AFP via Getty Images)
“You have helped our country achieve economic success anew under unprecedented challenges,” said Steinmeier.
Steinmeier served under Merkel as vice chancellor from 2007 to 2009. He also held a position as foreign minister from 2005 to 2009 and again from 2013 and 2017.
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First lady Elke Buendenbender, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, former Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer at the award ceremony in Berlin on April 17, 2023. (Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
“We look back on 16 years of almost uninterrupted economic growth, during which the scourge of unemployment increasingly lost its horror for most Germans,” he continued. “At a time when our continent threatened to break apart, you held together the center and the periphery, the north and the south, the east and the west.”
Some members of Merkel’s own political party – the Christian Democratic Union – opposed the award ceremony.
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Some members of Angela Merkel’s own political party raised objections to her receiving the Grand Cross. (Emmanuele Contini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
“I think it’s a mistake to award Angela Merkel this Grand Cross now, a year and a half after the end of her term,” CDU Fundamental Values Commission leader Andreas Rödder said, according to Politico.
Timothy Nerozzi is a writer for Fox News Digital. You can follow him on Twitter @timothynerozzi and can email him at [email protected]