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Angela Merkel: I miss my colleagues

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Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Germans to cancel any holidays at home and abroad, while president Frank-Walter Steinmeier told people to “stay at home”.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is missing personal contact with colleagues while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Merkel, 65, has been in self-isolation since Sunday after coming into contact with a person who later tested positive for Covid-19.

The chancellor said she was “keeping very, very busy,” during a news conference.

She said she spends a lot of time in video conferences and telephone group chats.

“I miss being able to attend cabinet meetings personally,” Merkel said, adding that she missed not being able to see people in person.

On Thursday, the German leader took part in a G20 video conference and followed that up with a virtual meeting of EU heads of state and government.

Merkel noted that the format poses new challenges.

But she said that working out the wording of joint texts, for example, “is possible by being disciplined about asking to speak, and then speaking up.”

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In video conferences, it is not possible to walk around the negotiating table and talk to people to find out whether a compromise proposal can be agreed.

“But on the other hand, you can write each other messages.

“In this respect, it turns out you can work quite well,” the chancellor asserted.

Merkel added that she found the G20 video conference “quite interesting.

“But it’s not quite as good as sitting together in person.”

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