Merkel seen shaking for third time in weeks

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was seen shaking as she met Finland’s visiting prime minister on Wednesday – her third bout within the last month, Reuters Television footage showed, but a government spokesman said she was fine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel receives Finland’s new Social Democrat Prime Minister Antti Rinne with military honours at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
Merkel shook back and forth as she stood outside and looked uncomfortable as she watched a military ceremony marking Antti Rinne’s arrival.

Merkel’s office has given no explanation for her shaking episodes, prompting German media speculation about the cause. The chancellor, 64, has no history of serious health issues.

“The chancellor is fine and the talks with the Finnish prime minister are going on as planned,” a government spokesman said.

After the first shaking episode, when she met visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on June 18, Merkel said she felt better after drinking some water.

She was also seen shaking on June 27 when she met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier but her spokesman said she was fine and she later went ahead with her planned trip to Japan for a G20 summit. A government official told Reuters that was more a psychological issue as she tried desperately to avoid a repeat.

After her Japan trip, Merkel went straight into three days of tortuous talks in Brussels to decide on a new group of nominees for top European Union jobs – a package that has strained her coalition government.

In power for 14 years, Merkel is renowned for her work ethic and has a reputation for outlasting other leaders at EU summits with her ability to focus on the details of complex discussions deep into the night.

In November 2016, when announcing that she would seek a fourth term as chancellor, Merkel said: “It is a decision not just for an election campaign but about the next four years … if health allows it.”

Were Merkel to be incapacitated, Steinmeier would appoint a cabinet minister as acting chancellor until parliament elects a new chancellor. This need not be Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz, a member of the Social Democrats – junior partner in Merkel’s ruling grand coalition.

In the past, she has joked that she is a “sleep camel” who can go days with just a few hours of sleep as long as she gets a full night of sleep at the weekend. She is due to go on holiday later in the summer.

Merkel has loomed large on the European stage since 2005, helping guide the EU through the euro zone crisis and opening Germany’s doors to migrants fleeing war in the Middle East in 2015 – a move that still divides the bloc and her country.

Reuters

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Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell