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Angela Merkel opts to sit at ceremony after third bout of shaking

13 July 2019

The event came a day after Mrs Merkel shook as she stood at a similar ceremony in the latest of three incidents that have raised concern about her health.

In an unprecedented arrangement for a state visit, Merkel and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen remained seated during the playing of both countries' national anthems at reception outside the chancellery in Berlin on Thursday. The two officials took a seat despite the existing protocol for such an occasion.

"That's not just because of the mistakes, but rather because the CDU chief doesn't really have a stage", said one CDU grandee.

Merkel was also seen shaking on June 27 when she met German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier but her spokesman said she was fine and she later went ahead with her planned trip to Japan for a G20 summit.

On June 18, Chancellor Merkel also desperately attempted to stop herself from shaking for at least a minute as she stood next to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. "You can rest assured that I'm, for one, well aware of the responsibilities of my office and that I will act on questions regarding my health", Merkel said at a joint press conference with Frederiksen.

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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".

The chancellor has no history of serious health issues. "Otherwise I am convinced that I am quite capable (of doing my job)", she said.

These continuing series of violent and uncontrollable shaking incidents will no doubt continue to sow doubts as to whether Chancellor Merkel actually remains in good health.

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

Ms Demmer said she had "nothing to add".

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Medical experts have played down speculation the shaking episodes, saying there are multiple potential causes of tremor.

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.

Public figures' health is generally regarded as a private matter in Germany and the country's privacy laws are very strict on that type of information.

Mrs Merkel, who has led Germany since November 2005, said a year ago that she will not seek a fifth term as chancellor and will not seek any other political job after her current term ends in 2021. It is not publicly known if Merkel has any health problems.

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Angela Merkel opts to sit at ceremony after third bout of shaking