Merkel suffers third shaking bout in one month

Published July 11, 2019
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “working through” a bout of shaking that first occurred in mid-June and struck for the third time on Wednesday. — Reuters/File
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “working through” a bout of shaking that first occurred in mid-June and struck for the third time on Wednesday. — Reuters/File

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “working through” a bout of shaking that first occurred in mid-June and struck for the third time on Wednesday, though she insisted she was fine and that “just as it happened one day, so it will disappear”.

Earlier, Merkel shook back and forth as she stood outside and looked uncomfortable while watching a military ceremony marking the arrival of visiting Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, who stood by her side.

After a previous shaking episode, when she met visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on June 18, Merkel said she felt better after drinking some water.

“I am fine,” Merkel told a news conference after Wednesday’s meeting with Rinne. “I have recently said that I am working through what happened during the military honours with President Zelenskiy.” “This process is clearly not finished yet but there is progress and I must live with this for a while but I am very well and you don’t need to worry about me,” she added. “I believe that just as it happened one day, so it will disappear. Otherwise I am convinced that I am quite capable [of doing my job],” she said.

She gave no details of any medical advice or treatment she has been given. The chancellor, 64 and in office since 2005, has no history of serious health issues. Her office has given no explanation for the shaking episodes.

Medical experts have played down speculation about what Merkel’s ailment is, saying there are multiple potential causes of tremor.

Germany’s political establishment has observed a respectful silence over the recent incidents of shaking, but mass-selling daily Bild asked whether Merkel should say more about her health after the third episode, arguing: “The silence, the dismissiveness is no longer so easy to understand.”

In the United States, portions of the results of the president’s annual medical examination are traditionally made public, but in Germany, political leaders are generally expected to enjoy more privacy around their health.

Merkel is renowned for her work ethic and has a reputation for outlasting other leaders at EU summits with her ability to focus on the details of complex discussions deep into the night.

In the past, Merkel has joked that she is a “sleep camel” who can go days with just a few hours of sleep as long as she gets a full night of sleep at the weekend. She is due to go on holiday later in the summer.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2019

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