Germany to once again host G7 leaders at Alpine castle

Germany will invite world leaders back to the Bavarian Alps when it hosts the next G7 summit next June at Elmau Castle, state leader Markus Söder said Tuesday.

Germany to once again host G7 leaders at Alpine castle
Former chancellor Angela Merkel and Barack Obama at Elmau in 2015. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa POOL | Michael Kappeler

Chancellor Olaf Scholz will welcome leaders of the world’s most industrialised nations on June 26-28 at the same five-star resort used during Germany’s last G7 presidency in 2015, Söder told reporters.

“That pleases us greatly and we will try to be good hosts,” Söder said.

“We are thrilled the whole world is coming to Bavaria.”

Government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit later confirmed the choice, saying the venue “fulfils all logistical and security requirements for a G7 summit”.

The last meeting there saw former chancellor Angela Merkel, who left office last week, lead then US President Barack Obama on a village walkabout among farmers in the feathered caps and women in the dirndl smocks of Bavaria’s famous traditional dress.

The two were captured in a meme-ready photo with Merkel’s arms spread wide against a foggy Alpine backdrop, as Obama listened intently seated in front of her on a bench.

READ ALSO: German media heaps praise on Merkel during summit

G7 hosts typically choose picture-postcard spots when planning their annual summit, ideally in a remote location that is easier for police to secure than
an urban centre.

Protestant theologian and philosopher Johannes Mueller built Elmau Castle during World War I and when Adolf Hitler rose to power in 1933, Mueller
pledged allegiance to the Nazi leader although he never joined the party.

Schloss Elmau served as a US army hospital and later as a refuge for displaced people and Holocaust survivors in the immediate post-war years.

It now frequently hosts wellness retreats and cross-cultural events including lectures and debates.

Britain held the G7 presidency this year and hosted the leaders’ meeting in June in Cornwall, southwest England.

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Doreen Denstädt becomes eastern Germany’s first black minister

Former policewoman Doreen Denstädt became the first black minister in ex-communist eastern Germany on Wednesday, taking over the justice and migration brief in a hotbed of right-wing extremism.

Doreen Denstädt becomes eastern Germany's first black minister

Denstädt, 45, belongs to the Greens and assumed the office in Thuringia state from Dirk Adams, who was fired after his management of immigration policy lost the support of the ecologist party.

Thuringia is governed by a fractious coalition of the far-left Linke party, the Social Democrats and the Greens who formed a bulwark against the far-right AfD party, which is polling at around 30 percent.

The state chapter of the AfD, an anti-migrant, anti-Muslim party, is considered particularly radical and has been placed under surveillance by the
domestic security watchdog, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

“If you like the constitution in Thuringia, you’re considered a leftist,” Denstädt, whose Tanzanian father studied in Germany, told the daily Tagesspiegel.

“I can be visible – after all I always stood out in a white-majority society, whether I wanted to or not.”

Denstädt, whose new office oversees the judicial system as well as migrant and refugee affairs, has said she intends to be a voice for victims of crime, racism and discrimination.

She noted that she as a German citizen is regularly asked to show her residency papers and does not ride public transportation at night for fear of racist attacks.

READ ALSO: Black people in Germany face ‘widespread’ racism, study finds

Denstädt, who only entered politics in 2021, faced a deluge of hate speech online when it was announced she would become a minister.

But she said she has also received widespread encouragement and support for her highly visible new position.

“An incredible number of people got in touch to say they’re proud of me and hopeful about what I can do,” she told Tagesspiegel.