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Party leader Merz announces reception on the occasion of Merkel’s 70th birthday

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The leadership of Germany’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) plans to honor former party leader and Chancellor Angela Merkel with a reception to mark her 70th birthday.

Art historian Horst Bredekamp will give a lecture during the ceremony at the Academy of Sciences in Berlin, CDU leader Friedrich Merz announced on Monday during a meeting of his party’s board in Berlin.

The ceremony as part of the CDU’s ‘Berlin Talks’ series was agreed with Merkel. The former chancellor turns 70 on July 17.

Merz told dpa afterwards that he had informed the CDU committees that the party “will celebrate the 70th birthday of our former chairman and Chancellor Angela Merkel on September 25.”

“We are looking forward to it,” said Merz.

Merkel removed Merz from the chairmanship of the CDU faction in 2002. Since then, the relationship between the current party and conservative parliamentary group leader and the former chancellor has been seriously tense.

As in previous years, Merkel did not accept an invitation to the CDU party conference in May. She is accused by some within the CDU of increasingly distancing herself from her party.

In December, Merkel withdrew from the CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Merz is accused by critics in his own ranks of having oriented the CDU more conservatively than under Merkel. The fact that the party leader is now announcing the birthday party himself could also be seen as a concession to Merkel supporters in his own ranks.

Since taking office following the conservative bloc’s disaster in the 2021 parliamentary elections and switching to the opposition after 16 years of Merkel’s rule, Merz has worked hard to bring the party back together.

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