I doubt whether there will be many of us in the UK saying Thank You Chancellor for his budget this week, but in Germany they are very much saying Danke Der Chancellor in 2021.
This year Angela Merkel ought to be enjoying a lap of honour after 16 years as Chancellor but in typically understated style she is having none of it.
And she looked suitably embarrassed after a six-minute round of applause from her Christian Democrats party in Hamburg at her last conference as leader.
Hamburgers all round
It was perhaps fitting that the conference should be in Germany’s second city, Hamburg, as it was there in 1954 that she came blinking into the world.
Before being taken off to Templin in Brandenburg, 56 miles north of East Berlin because her father was taking up a pastoral position.
Nobody’s clothes horse, the image of Hleb in From Russia With Love always sticks in my mind.
She wouldn’t want to be compared to a Russian spy, of course, but wouldn’t care a jot about being pulled up over her outfit.
She once rasped at a journalist who had pointed out that she was wearing the same suit twice: ‘I am a government employee, not a model.’
From Angela With Love
Frau Merkel has had little truck with the Russians throughout her decade and a half in charge of the EU’s biggest country.
She remembers only too well the challenges of growing up in the old Communist-led East Germany which is evident to anyone who has visited.
And can see as I did in Dresden that the mark of the Communist era is still all around them.
Among Frau Merkel’s many successes, of course, have been the consolidation of the fledgling Unified Germany, her leadership during the Recession of the last decade and integrating immigrants.
While she was happy to pass on the credit for World Cup victory for her beloved Germany national team to Joachim Loew.
Frau Merkel has also been praised for her handling of the Covid-19 crisis and while there have been obstacles since, and remember this is a country at the centre of Europe, they are emerging from the worst of it now.
We’ll take Berlin
And they’ll be telling us all about it in the next couple of weeks when we’ll also have the pleasure of reacquainting the friends we met in Dublim from Visit Berlin.
All of which will be music to die Ohren of my own kleine Frau, born in Moenchengladbach, who has a hankering to visit Berlin herself when all this is over.