By Valentina Zarya
June 27, 2017

Valentina Zarya here, filling in for Claire this week.

Angela Merkel was all over the news Monday, thanks in large part to doing a wide-ranging interview on stage at Berlin’s Gorki Theatre with journalists from German women’s magazine Brigitte. Some notable tidbits from the conversation:

  • Stance on same-sex marriage. Merkel said that she “hopes” that the debate will shift “into the direction of a decision of conscience.” In other words, that parliamentarians would be able to vote based on their beliefs, regardless of their party platforms. Her Christian Democrat party and the nationalist Afd are the only two major parties that do not currently support same-sex unions. (Germany has allowed same-sex couples to enter civil partnerships since 2001, but same-sex marriages remain illegal.)
  • Germany’s relationship with the U.S. “As Europeans it’s our task to take responsibility, and no longer completely rely on the U.S.,” she said. She also spoke at length about the infamous missed handshake with U.S. President Donald Trump, revealing that when she later asked Trump about the incident, he told her that he had been “under the impression that he had already shaken my hand twice—which was true.”
  • (Near) lack of social media use. Merkel doesn’t have a Twitter account, but said: “I use it sometimes … then I enter Donald Trump on Twitter and I have it all.”
  • Love of laughter. “Humor is important in politics,” she said. “I laugh at least once every day, otherwise I cannot do this job,” she said, adding that she would “never allow people to take away my holiday from me.”

The 90-minute interview comes three months before national elections. Her only real opponent in the race for chancellor is Social Democrat Martin Schulz—though Merkel has a healthy lead in the opinion polls.

@valzarya

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