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Politics

Merkel urges Germans to 'dare' in optimistic New Year address

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has issued an upbeat message to the German people in her annual New Year's message. The chancellor called for individuals to take a lead in achieving success for the nation.

Merkel urges German to 'dare'

In her annual video message, Merkel urged Germans to be determined in their ambitions and resolutions for the New Year.

"I dare," should be the motto of Germans for 2014, the chancellor said in her address. "Commitment, dedication and togetherness," on the part of individuals, said Merkel, were behind any success.

"The state can invest. It can create good conditions," said the chancellor. "But politics can only accomplish a little without all of you in our country. What every one of us accomplishes individually on a small scale - that affects our country at large."

After her success in the 2013 German general election, Merkel has taken her Christian Democrats, along with their Bavarian sister party the CSU, into a grand coalition with the erstwhile opposition, the Social Democrats.

The message, the first turn-of-year address of Merkel's third administration, saw the chancellor allude to traditional conservative values such as fiscal responsibility and the family unit.

'Lot of good news'

Merkel also emphasized the importance of Europe in Germany's success. "Progress in our country is dependent upon progress in Europe," said Merkel. While last year's news had been dominated by the European sovereign debt crisis rather than cautious optimism, Merkel said, she now saw Germany in a better position.

A first step for 2014, said the chancellor, would be to ensure "that we hand on our finances in good order to the next generation." Indeed, future generations were a central theme of the speech, with Germany's energy transition from nuclear towards alternatives also touted as a key responsibility.

Merkel added that the government viewed families as being at the "heart of society," and was dedicated to providing "the best possible education for children and young people."

The chancellor also looked back to the past, though, noting that the year would be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, the 75th anniversary of the start of World War II and a quarter of a century since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

"Europe has, from the dreams of a few and through the efforts of many, become a place of peace for millions," Merkel added.

rc/tj (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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