There were only a few hours before Angela Merkel was to be officially bid farewell on Thursday evening with a big tattoo.

But she promised the Germans that she would be Chancellor until the last day.

First of all, Thursday was not the last and, once again, it was busy, filled with the topic that had demanded more attention and strength from Angela Merkel than any other in the past two years.

A day marked by one of the many Prime Minister's Conferences (MPK), which - unlike in the time before the pandemic - concentrate entirely on this one topic.

Eckart Lohse

Head of the parliamentary editorial office in Berlin.

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So she sat there, the political worker Merkel, who explained why tougher measures are required again against the spread of the coronavirus, that clubs and discos should be closed from an incidence of 350 onwards, why a 2-G- Regulation must apply. Next Wednesday the man who sat next to her, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, is to be elected Chancellor. It is highly unlikely that another extraordinary MPK will be interposed. Then that was it with Merkel's political fight against the virus.

Only occasionally did the end times flash.

For example, when the outgoing Chancellor explained why Germany needed vaccinations.

"If I were in the Bundestag, I could say that I would vote for it." But she is no longer there.

At least she mentioned her longtime constituency again.

When she was asked why she wanted the song "You forgot the color film" from Nina Hagen for the farewell at the Zapfenstreich.

That was a "highlight" of her youth in the GDR, said Merkel.

It also plays in their constituency.

"The sea buckthorn stood high on the beach at Hiddensee," reads the first line of the first stanza.

Appreciation that has grown over the years

When Merkel was asked the question, a smile crossed Olaf Scholz's face. It is true that his understanding of politics as the most serious work for the country resembles that of Merkel. But Scholz, whose home is Merkel's birthplace in Hamburg, has a sense of humor. The two have come to appreciate each other over many years of working together. When Merkel was asked whether she would hand over the country to Scholz in the condition she had wished, she was saddened by the strong fourth wave of the pandemic, and even looked a little enviously at Italy, which was so harsh at the beginning of the pandemic struggled and was worse off than Germany. So now, almost two years later, said Merkel, if “we had an average incidence of 130, like Italy, I would be better”.

But she was convinced that the fight against the virus by the federal and state governments will continue with Scholz as Chancellor.

Then a tiny bit of praise for the successor with a view to his time as Hamburg's first mayor.

Scholz has the advantage that he has already worked “from a country perspective”.

Scholz, addressed by Merkel's government spokesman as "Mr. Vice Chancellor", which almost sounded like "Mr. Federal Chancellor", also bowed a little, if less to Merkel than to the people he will soon lead from the highest political point of view.