Thanking the families of those serving abroad
Angela Merkel welcomed more than 50 family members of soldiers and police officers, including a large number of children. She thanked them, as representatives of all those who currently separated from their loved ones, who are serving abroad.
She said to the family members, "It is good to know that you are there to support the people serving abroad so that we can enjoy Christmas in safety and security."
A Christmassy setting for a chat
The reception for the families of soldiers and police officers serving overseas has been held at the Federal Chancellery since 2003. Federal Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and Bundeswehr Inspector General Volker Wieker also attended.
The Chancellor was able to carry on her conversations with family members at the traditionally decorated table.
Currently, more than 5,100 soldiers are serving outside Germany. Most of them are stationed in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Turkey. German troops are, however, also involved in various missions in Africa, around the Horn of Africa and along the Lebanese coast. About 300 police officers are involved in international police missions.