German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said Germany will take on greater responsibility internationally in 2019, and keep pushing for global solutions to the challenges of climate change, migration and “terrorism”.
In her annual New Year’s address, the four-term chancellor said international cooperation was needed to master these problems, but said old certainties about the multilateral approach was “coming under pressure”.
“In such a situation, we must again stand up for, argue and fight more strongly for our convictions,” Merkel said in a text of the message her office released before a scheduled Monday broadcast.
“And we must take on more responsibility in our own interests.”
In recent months, Germany has frequently been on the receiving end of criticism by US President Donald Trump, whose “America First” policy is the opposite of the unified response to world challenges that Merkel advocates for.
Germany will campaign for “global solutions” through the United Nations, Merkel said, noting the country is spending more on humanitarian aid and defence.
Berlin is due to assume a rotating seat on the UN Security Council on January 1.
Turning to home, Merkel urged Germans to champion “openness, tolerance and respect”.
“These values have made our country strong. We must espouse them together – even if it is uncomfortable and taxing,” she said.
It has been “an extremely difficult political year”, she added, acknowledging that many Germans have “struggled very much” with her most recent government because of persistent infighting.
Merkel, who has led Germany for 13 years, said she set the stage for a “new beginning” in late October by announcing she will not seek a fifth term.
The move followed losses in regional elections for her coalition. Merkel has since given up the leadership of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, Germany’s main centre-right party.
Her ally Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer took over the party’s leadership earlier in December.
Merkel has previously said she plans to remain chancellor for the rest of this parliamentary term, which is due to run until 2021, but questions remain over whether she will remain in office for the duration due to tensions within her governing coalition.
“Democracy lives from change,” she said in her New Year’s message.
“We build on what our predecessors left us, and shape things in the present for those who will come after us”.