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Merkel will be presented with Germany’s highest distinction

Angela Merkel will be awarded Germany’s highest honor, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit, the office of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier confirmed on Tuesday, following a report by Stern magazine.

Only former chancellors Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl have been awarded this distinction thus far. All three politicians are members of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a conservative political party.

The award, which will feature a unique design, will be presented in April, according to the office.

The only award level above this is the Grand Cross, which is presented to every German president upon assuming office and to foreign chiefs of state.

Merkel served as chancellor between 2005 and 2021. According to Stern, her family and numerous political acquaintances will be in attendance.

CDU party colleagues Thomas de Maizière and Peter Altmaier, among others, have received invitations. She also invited her first vice chancellor from the Social Democratic Party (SPD), her government spokesperson, and close advisers.

The magazine wrote that no one from the current CDU leadership, the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), or the business-oriented Free Democratic Party (FDP) is on the list.

Former East German civil rights activists Rainer Eppelmann, Ulrich Matthes, and Jürgen Klinsmann are, however.