DW – February 12, 2017
A special 1,260-member assembly on Sunday confirmed general expectations and elected Steinmeier as the new ceremonial head of state of the German Federal Republic. He will succeed current President Joachim Gauck, who decided to step down after a single five-year term in office, citing his advanced age of 77.
In his acceptance speech, Steinmeier called Germany “an anchor for hope,” saying that the country should take responsibility and serve as a role model for other countries. “[Germany] inspires others to be brave, not because everything is well here, but because we’ve shown how much a country can improve,” he said.
Steinmeier indirectly addressed the surge of right-wing parties and anti-EU sentiments across Europe by asking Germans to defend freedom and democracy in the EU. “[These values] are not invulnerable, but I am firmly convinced that they are strong,” he said.