Saturday 24 March 2018

Merkel tells of life behind the Berlin Wall – and why she loves the Bible

Daniel McConnell Political Correspondent

She may have kept them waiting for more than an hour, but about 100 Trinity College Dublin students were delighted with their audience with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"I want to use this opportunity to congratulate on how you dealt with your economic crisis. I have every respect for the trials you have been through," she said.

She was asked what her favourite book was. Ms Merkel paused for a moment, before saying the Bible has influenced her life the most. Ms Merkel also said she loved to read books about expeditions and Marie Curie when she was a child. Now, when she has time, it's Dostoevsky and cookery books.

Later, Ms Merkel praised the freedoms afforded by EU membership, such as freedom of the press, travel and movement.

"I will stand up for Europe," she said.

Ms Merkel was a guest of the student Phil Society and gave a short address entitled 'Europe in a Globalised World' before taking questions from students.

Speaking in her native German tongue, a clearly relaxed Ms Merkel spoke in detail of her youth growing up behind the Berlin Wall, and of her delight to see that wall come down in 1989.

She acknowledged the fears and difficulties facing young people in Ireland because of the economic crash.

She was accompanied at Trinity College by Taoiseach Enda Kenny who introduced her. Mr Kenny said the students were lucky to have a "real global leader" in their company.

Irish Independent

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