German political circles have been plunged into speculation by reports that Angela Merkel is not going on her usual summer holiday in the Italian Alps this year.
If it were anyone else, the news would not be particularly surprising: most would probably fancy a change after holidaying in the same place for nine years in a row.
But Mrs Merkel’s annual walking holiday in the region of South Tyrol is one of the fixtures of the German political calendar.
Every year since 2008 she and her husband, Prof Joachim Sauer, have stayed at the same unglamourous four-star hotel in the resort of Sulden.
Curiouser still, Mrs Merkel’s husband is reportedly still going. Prof Sauer has booked into the usual hotel, but is travelling with his son from a previous marriage instead of the German chancellor, according to a report in the Neue Südtiroler Tageszeitung newspaper.
Mrs Merkel’s office on Wednesday refused to comment on the reports. “As a matter of principle we give no information on the chancellor’s private appointments,” a spokesman said.
With Berlin starved of political drama by the annual summer lull, there was speculation the change might be a sign the country is approaching the end of an era.
Mrs Merkel had to fight off a crisis that at one point looked like it could topple her government earlier this month, after Horst Seehoer, her interior minister, threatened to resign over migrant policy.
But the moment of crisis is past and Mrs Merkel managed to cling on to power, albeit at the cost of considerable loss to her personal authority.
There is no obvious immediate threat in the air, but after such a tumultuous few weeks she may feel she cannot risk leaving the German capital.
Mr Seehofer has continued to provoke controversy with his moves since and she may feel she needs to keep an eye on him.
Or she may have decided to hang around to deal with the aftershocks from Donald Trump’s chaotic visit to last week’s Nato summit, at which he turned on Germany. Or the chancellor may have some other, private reason to change her holiday plans.
Another of the Merkels’ summer rituals, however, looks to survive. The couple are set to to travel together to the annual Wagner festival in Bayreuth next week.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/07/18/angela-merkel-cancels-summer-walking-holiday-first-time-decade/