Angela Merkel announced in 2017 she would not seek further re-election after leading Germany through four parliamentary terms and 16 crisis-filled years. Chancellor Merkel will stay in her post while the three parties seeking to form a new Government – the Greens, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Free Democrats (FDP) – conduct coalition talks. And in an emotional moment, Mrs Merkel bid goodbye to ally Emmanuel Macron as they met for what is expected to be the last time.
Both European leaders joined colleagues from around the world at the COP26 Summit in Glasgow after earlier talks with G20 partners in Rome.
As they headed back to the continent, the German leader took a detour to the medieval town of Beaune for her final meeting with Mr Macron.
Footage from the event shows Chancellor Merkel and President Macron sharing an emotional hug.
After a tentative approach, the two leaders came together in a final embrace and two cheek kisses as aides applauded them.
President Macron and wife Brigitte welcomed Merkel and her husband Joachim Sauer to the 15th-century Hospices de Beaune, one of France’s top tourist attractions.
Hundreds of wellwishers lined the square at dusk as the two couples visited a wine shop and received flowers and wine.
Commenting on the visit, Chancellor Merkel said: “This is a wonderful place where you can really experience France.”
The two leaders were not expected to make any political statements in Beaune, where their predecessors Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterrand called for closer European integration during a Franco-German summit in 1993.
Chancellor Merkel will stand down when a new German coalition government has been formed following a Sept. 26 national vote in which she did not seek re-election.
At a joint Franco-German cabinet meeting in June, President Macron thanked the Chancellor for all she had done to boost relations between the two countries.
He said: “Allow me to say how much the Franco-German relationship owes to your commitment, your determination, sometimes your patience with us, and your ability to listen.”