Germans fret about Merkel after shaking episodes

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"Does Merkel travel too much?" asked mass-selling daily Bild on Friday as Germans fret about the health of their chancellor, who sat rather than stood at a ceremony on Thursday after shaking for the third time in as many weeks when standing a day earlier.

The shaking episodes - all while standing at ceremonies - have unnerved many Germans, who look to Angela Merkel as a rock in an unstable world, and have raised questions about her health and whether her punishing schedule is proving too much.

"Dear sitting chancellor, it broke my heart when I saw you sitting for the military honours for the Danish prime minister," Bild columnist Franz Josef Wagner wrote of her decision to break with protocol and sit at Thursday's welcoming ceremony.

"We are seeing someone who wants to stay strong, and shakes and shakes," he added.

Photo: Reuters

Bild counted 21 foreign trips that Merkel, who turns 65 next week, has been on so far this year, which it said was more than 41-year-old French President Emmanuel Macron, on 17, and 62-year-old British Prime Minister Theresa May, on 16.

Leading the European Union's largest economy, 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.

Merkel appeared cheerful and steady at two appointments on Friday morning, posing briefly while standing before cameras to receive a report on carbon pricing and for a gallery opening.

The chancellor, who has no history of serious health issues, insisted "I am fine" on Wednesday, after trembling at a ceremony to receive Finland's prime minister, and said she was "working through" a bout of tremors that first occurred in mid-June.

But she has declined to give any details about her health.

After a June 27 episode of shaking at an event with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Merkel went ahead with her planned trip to Japan for a G20 summit before returning to Europe for three days of tortuous talks at an EU summit.

"I look after my health," she said on Thursday.

Merkel has led Germany since 2005, making her the longest-serving political leader of a major Western democracy. She plans to step down before the next federal parliamentary election, due in 2021.

Merkel sits through anthems after shaking spells

Angela Merkel sat through national anthems on Thursday during an official ceremony, as the German chancellor sought to prevent a repeat of uncontrollable shaking with a rare change of protocol.

After greeting Denmark's new Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the portico of the chancellery, a smiling Merkel walked her over to a podium where both leaders took their seats.

The unusual move came a day after a similar ceremony when the German chancellor was seen shaking involuntarily for the third time in public in less than a month, reviving questions over her health.

Merkel began trembling as national anthems were being played at the reception of Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne.

Just over an hour later, she attended a press conference as planned and told journalists that her health was no cause for concern.

She explained that she was simply still in a phase of "processing" a previous shaking spell, but that "there has been progress".

"I will have to live with it for a while," added Merkel, who turns 65 next week.

"Just like how it has come, one day it will go away too," she said.

The shaking on Wednesday was visible although less severe than during the first episode in June.

On that occasion she appeared unsteady and shook as she stood in the midday sun next to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom she was welcoming with military honours.

That first bout of shaking was blamed on dehydration. But a second episode struck a week later at the end of June, just hours before she was due to board a plane for a G20 summit in Japan.

Merkel has been leader of Europe's biggest economy for almost 14 years.

Frequently called the European Union's most influential leader and the most powerful woman in the world, Merkel has said she will leave politics at the end of her term, in 2021.

Merkel suffers new shaking spell, third in a month

German Chancellor Angela Merkel suffered a new trembling spell on Wednesday, the third time in less than a month, which has raised questions over her health.

Merkel began shaking involuntarily as national anthems were being played at the reception of Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne, an AFP photographer witnessed.

The shaking was visible although less severe than during the first episode in June. On that occasion she appeared unsteady and shook as she stood in the midday sun next to visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom she was welcoming with military honours.

The first bout of shaking was blamed on dehydration, but a second episode struck a week later at the end of June, just hours before she was due to board a plane for the G20 summit in Japan.

Officials had sought then to play down fears over her health, with her spokesman saying that she would not cancel any planned engagements.

Merkel, who turns 65 in a week, has always enjoyed relatively robust health.

Frequently called the European Union's most influential leader and the most powerful woman in the world, Merkel has said she will leave politics at the end of her term, in 2021.

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