EU’s von der Leyen bids Germany goodbye with Scorpions hit

The Inspector General of the Bundeswehr Eberhard Zorn (L) German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (R) Former German Defense Minister and President-elect of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen (C) , attend a Grand Tattoo military ceremony in honor of Von der Leyen at the Ministry of Defense in Berlin, Germany, 15 August 2019. [EPA-EFE/OMER MESSINGER]

EU president-elect Ursula von der Leyen chose the Scorpions’ smash hit “Wind of Change”, which has become an anthem for the fall of the Berlin Wall, for her official departure ceremony in Berlin on Thursday evening (15 August).

The power ballad by the German rock band, which has sold an estimated 14 million copies since its release in 1991, was performed by a military brass band during the ceremony attended by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Von der Leyen, who takes office on November 1, replacing outgoing European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, last month handed over as defence minister to Merkel’s favoured successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

The politician “probably did not choose the song because it was a worldwide success by a group that comes from the same region of Hanover as she does”, Scorpions lead singer Klaus Meine, who also wrote the ballad, told the DPA news agency.

“The song has a deeper meaning especially in relation to her new role as head of the European Commission,” he said.

“The dream of peace continues to live from generation to generation,” he added.

Von der Leyen, who was visibly moved by the ceremony, also chose the European Union’s anthem Ode to Joy and Mozart’s Ave verum.

Choices by previous defence ministers have included “Live is Life” by Austrian pop group Opus and “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple.

The quiet rise of Ursula von der Leyen

German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, a compromise name for the next  European Commission President, is a non-divisive political figure on EU stage and quiet tactician hardly known outside Germany. But her career at home has often been marked by scandals.

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