German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that she would not take on a senior post at the European Union after her fourth and final term ends in 2021.
Merkel said she “will not be available for any political office, no matter where, not even in Europe” at a press conference with her Dutch counterpart, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in Berlin.
The chancellor had ruled out a move to the EU in October after she said that she would be stepping down at the end of her term.
But she sparked a fresh wave of speculation after she told the Süddeutsche Zeitung on Thursday about her “responsibility” for Europe’s future.
“Many people are worried about Europe, including myself,” she told the paper. “This gives me an even greater sense of responsibility to take care of the fate of this Europe of ours together with others.”
Merkel said Thursday that she had given the interview “as Germany’s chancellor.”
“I, as German chancellor, should intensify rather than not intensify my efforts towards a good, functioning Europe,” she said.
The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said in April that Merkel was an “endearing work of art” who was “highly qualified” for a top EU job.
Will Merkel make it to 2021?
Merkel resigned as head of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) at the same she announced her intention to continue as German chancellor until 2021.
Her term could end prematurely if her governing coalition, comprising the CDU, its Bavarian sister party, the CSU, and the Social Democrats (SPD), breaks down before then.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Merkel’s successor as CDU chief, told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper on Sunday that she expected Merkel to stay until 2021.
“The chancellor and the government are elected for a full term and citizens are right to expect that they take this mandate seriously,” she said.
“Speaking for myself, I can rule out that I am working in my own interest for a change.”