German Chancellor Angela Merkel called 2020 the most difficult year of her time in leadership during her last New Year’s speech.
Merkel made the statement during an uncharacteristic emotional speech, Reuters reported. Merkel is currently serving her fourth and final term as chancellor.
“I do not think I am exaggerating when I say: in the past year we have never found the old year so difficult, and we have never looked forward to the new year with so much hope, despite all the worries and skepticism,” he said. Merkel said.
Merkel has been praised throughout the pandemic, Reuters said, for her strong commitment to science and her success in fighting the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, Merkel announced that she will not seek re-election at the end of her term and will retire in 2021.
“I can only imagine how bitter it must feel for the grieving loved ones lost by corona, or who must fight the consequences of an illness when the virus is disputed and denied by some hopeless individuals,” Merkel said.
Merkel introduced new, stricter coronavirus restrictions earlier in December, citing the record number of cases seen in Germany. The new restrictions canceled personal schooling, restricted indoor gatherings to a maximum of 5 people and closed most non-essential stores.
Germany was one of the first European countries to start a second year of exclusion in the winter when coronavirus cases began to increase. France, Italy and the United Kingdom soon followed.
Reuters notes that although Merkel will not seek re-election, there is a chance she could stay in power until 2022 if the September elections in Germany last longer than December.