On her 60th birthday German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a nice surprise at the Brussels EU summit, when a German journalist gave an impromptu rendition of “Happy Birthday”.
Merkel replied generously that it might have been good had she joined in.
The Chancellor was also presented with a German football shirt – signed not by the World Cup winning team, but by other European leaders.
The German leader will mark the rest of her birthday at a rather serious event at her conservative party’s headquarters in Berlin.
After a speech about “the time horizons of history” by the historian Juergen Osterhammel – Merkel’s personal choice – up to 1,000 guests will attend a reception with beer, wine and northern German fare including fish.
Following a tough start to the year, which saw her hobbling on crutches after a skiing accident, a crisis in Ukraine to deal with and her Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners stealing the limelight on domestic policies, she looks as strong as ever.
An Infratest dimap poll on July 3 found that 71 percent of Germans were happy or very happy with her work.