Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel told Germans on Tuesday they should be courageous and confident as the nation enters the 2020s, saying fresh ideas and inspiration are needed to meet the challenges of the new decade.
“The ’20s can be good years. Let’s surprise ourselves once again with what we can do,” Merkel, who has served as chancellor for 14 years, said in her annual New Year’s Eve address.
“To do this, we need more than ever the courage to think anew, for the strength the leave well-worn paths, the willingness to try new things and the determination to act faster, in the conviction that the unfamiliar can succeed – and must succeed – if the generation of today’s young people and their descendants should still be able to live well on this Earth,” she said.
Merkel stressed the need to halt climate change, and noted that at the age of 65 she would not suffer the most dramatic consequences of the planet’s warming if the world fails to quickly act.
“The warming of our Earth is real. It is threatening. The crises arising from global warming are man-made. So we have to do everything humanly possible to meet this human challenge. It is still possible.”
“It is our children and grandchildren who have to live with the consequences of what we are doing or failing to do today. That is why I am putting all my energy into ensuring that Germany makes its contribution – ecologically, economically, socially – to get a grip on climate change.”
An advanced copy of Merkel’s address was released ahead of its broadcast on public television.
She said Germans can build on what has always made them strong: “Our ideas, our ingenuity, our diligence and our tenacity; our craftsmen, engineers and specialists; our state and volunteer organizations; our way of living together in families and associations; the appreciation for those who work, for example, in caring for other people.”