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The 21 best quotes from Merkel's visit

ÜBERMUTTI – 21 nuggets from yesterday’s debate at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) where students grilled German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt about the economy and free trade agreements - with some surprising compliments

1. »She is just as engaged in Europe as she was in the good old days at Rosenborggade. Prime Minister, the floor is yours.«

Moderator Lykke Friis handing the floor over to Prime Minister – and former classmate in political science at the old building on Roseborggade – Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

2. »Dear students. It is always great to be back at the University of Copenhagen.«

The Prime Minister starts by picking the low-hanging fruit.

3.»I have to be honest: When I saw the Greek protestors burning the German flag, it filled me with disbelief and anger.«

Helle Thorning-Schmidt commenting on the Greek demonstrations in 2012…

4. »We can only maintain a strong community if all member states have the will to carry out the necessary reforms.«

…followed by a pointed finger at you-guess-which European-banana, oops, sorry, olive republic.

5. »63% of Danish teenagers know words like ‘geil’, ‘viel spass’, and ‘übercool’.«

Lykke Friis introducing Angela Merkel with examples of the relationship between Denmark and Germany, which, according to her, has never been better.

6. »Dear students. It is a great honor to be a guest at Niels Bohr’s university.«

Said Angela Merkel, who spent a lot of time learning Bohr’s theories as a physics student at the University of Leipzig.

7. »I believe that the EU is not just the answer to how to maintain peace and security – I also believe it is the answer to the challenges of globalization.«

Angela Merkel’s EU-pep talk, part one.

8. »We Europeans, the 28 member states, must be able to speak with one voice and be heard.«

Angela Merkel’s EU-pep talk, part two.

9. »The rest of the world isn’t sleeping.«

Angela Merkel points out that the global economic and political balance of power is shifting.

10. »We can maintain our standard of living only if we are faster than the rest of the world.«

Angela Merkel places the ball in the students’ court – and adds that we need to be quicker, among other things, to develop social models and to link the humanities with the natural sciences.

11. »Use the opportunities the EU offers. […]Continue to be curious about this world which is growing closer and closer together.«

Merkel rounds out her presentation with a blatant advertisement for student exchanges through the Erasmus program.

12. »In 10 years, I hope Europe will be better as sharing the burden of refugees.«

Merkel answers a question about how she envisions the European project in 10 years. Helle Thorning-Schmidt did not follow up.

13. »We still talk about South versus North. It should be to a greater extent of a single European public. Common challenges need to be discussed more.«

More visions of the future from Merkel.

14. »TTIP is the most transparent and democratic free trade agreement the world has ever seen.«

Helle Thorning-Schmidt on the controversial free trade agreement between the USA and the EU. Both she and Angela Merkel reject the idea that the agreement will compromise European standards and environmental agreements.

15. »We discuss, discuss, discuss every time we meet.[…] I believe the EU has a democratic surplus, rather than a democratic deficit.«

Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s answer to the question: »Has the finance crisis made the EU more technocratic and less democratic?«

16. »Nice color choice. I think color is the new black«

A student compliments Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s and Angela Merkel’s bright clothing.

17. »How can you ensure that our system is not exploited? Our telephones are tapped, yours is.«

Angela Merkel on the receiving end of another critical question about the free trade agreement with the USA.

18. »I’m glad to a see a woman from Ishøj and a woman from the German Democratic Republic sitting here. It gives me hope.«

A female law student gets the audience to laugh (and Angela Merkel to google Ishøj, we’re guessing).

19. »I will ask you to push my Prime Minister.«

The same student trying to get Angela Merkel to exert political pressure on the issues of taxes on financial transactions, which the Chancellor, unlike Helle Thorning-Schmidt, supports…

20. »The more countries that are in on it, the better, but formation of public opinion [about the tax] must be made in each country, so it’s more your job.«

… the Chancellor’s elegant response.

21. »You never regret a bridge to another country – the same can be said of a free trade agreement.«

Helle Thorning-Schmidt stretches – at the last minute – to include the Femern bridge in the debate.

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