Rumours swirl after Merkel cancels her usual holiday
German political circles have been plunged into speculation by reports that Angela Merkel is not going on her usual summer holiday in the Italian Alps this year.
Every year since 2008, the German chancellor and Prof Joachim Sauer, her husband, have stayed at the same no-frills four-star hotel in the resort of Sulden in the South Tyrol region for a walking holiday.
However, Prof Sauer is reportedly still going. He has booked into the usual hotel, but is travelling with his son from a previous marriage instead of his wife, according to 'Neue Sudtiroler Tageszeitung' newspaper.
"As a matter of principle, we give no information on the chancellor's private appointments," said Ms Merkel's office yesterday.
With Berlin starved of political drama by the annual summer lull, there was speculation the change might be a sign the country is approaching the end of an era. Ms Merkel fought off a crisis that at one point looked as if it could topple her government earlier this month, after Horst Seehoer, her interior minister, threatened to resign over migrant policy.
But the moment of crisis is past and Ms Merkel managed to cling on to power, albeit at the cost of considerable loss to her personal authority.
There is no obvious immediate threat in the air, but after such a tumultuous few weeks she may feel she cannot risk leaving the German capital.
Mr Seehofer has continued to provoke controversy since then, and Ms Merkel may feel she needs to keep an eye on him. Or she may have decided to hang around to deal with the aftershocks from Donald Trump's chaotic visit to last week's Nato summit, at which he turned on Germany.
Another of the Merkels' summer rituals, however, is set to survive. They will travel together to the annual Wagner festival in Bayreuth next week. (© Daily Telegraph, London)