'I feel well,' says Merkel a day after health scare

Berlin (AFP) –


German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought to assure journalists and citizens Wednesday she was well, a day after sparking concern by visibly trembling at an official ceremony.

"I feel well," she told school students during a visit to Goslar in the Harz mountains after Tuesday's health scare blamed on dehydration on a hot summer's day.

Merkel, 64, had a glass of water nearby and said that, with scorching temperatures, one "should not drink too much coffee but lots of water," national news agency DPA reported.

A day earlier, the chancellor appeared unsteady and shook as she stood in the midday sun next to visiting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, whom she was welcoming to her office building with military honours.

Asked by a reporter about her wellbeing at a news conference about 90 minutes later, Merkel smiled: "I've drunk at least three glasses of water and so I'm doing fine."

Zelensky, 41, made light of Merkel's uneasy spell, joking that he would have come to her rescue if necessary.

"She was standing next to me and completely safe," he said.

Merkel, frequently called the European Union's most influential leader and the most powerful woman in the world, turns 65 next month.

She has said she will leave politics at the end of her term, in 2021.

There were brief concerns about her health in 2014 when she was taken ill during a television interview. The broadcast was briefly interrupted when she experienced a drop in blood pressure.

Her spokesman Steffen Seibert explained at the time the leader did not feel well for a moment, then ate and drank something and continued the interview.