Merkel leaves for G20 meeting in Japan, despite second trembling episode

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday suffered another episode of uncontrolled trembling, a week after a similar incident sparked questions about her health. The latest lapse came hours before Merkel was due to board a plane for the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan.


The German leader began to tremble as she stood next to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was giving a speech at a ceremony to formally appoint new justice minister Christine Lambrecht.

According to a press photographer at the scene, the shaking went on for at least two minutes.

Merkel folded her arms in an attempt to stop the trembling.

She was offered a glass of water but turned it down.

Her previous bout of shaking last Tuesday had been blamed on dehydration on a hot summer's day.

Despite the latest incident, a German government spokesman said Merkel would not be cancelling any appointments on Thursday and Friday.

"The chancellor is well," he said, adding that she will be flying as planned to Osaka for the G20 summit.

Merkel, who turns 65 next month, has said she will leave politics at the end of her term, in 2021.

There were brief concerns about her health in 2014 when she was taken ill during a television interview. The broadcast was briefly interrupted when she experienced a drop in blood pressure.

Her spokesman Steffen Seibert explained at the time the leader did not feel well for a moment, then ate and drank something and continued the interview.

German tabloid Bild reminds readers that Merkel is known for her enormous physical strength, and that her endurance in sitting out meetings is famous, citing 17 hours of continuous negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a ceasefire agreement in eastern Ukraine in 2015.

Doctors, interviewed by the German press, seem to play down the incident.

GP Jakob Berger from Bayern, asked by the online publication after the first tremble-incident that happened when she met with the newly installed Ukrainian president Wolodymyr Selenskyj last week, says that the episode was “too short” to point to a serious illness.

“She was able to sing the national anthem normally and walk with the Ukrainian president.” Early signs of Parkinson were excluded.

“The Parkinson tremble is much less intense,” Berger was quoted as saying.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning

Keep up to date with international news by downloading the RFI app