Merkel kicks off 60th with impromptu serenade - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Merkel kicks off 60th with impromptu serenade

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(AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert). German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the media at the end of an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, early Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert). German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses the media at the end of an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, early Thursday, July 17, 2014.

BRUSSELS (AP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 60th birthday got off to a less-than-melodious start.

A German television reporter launched into a rendition of "Happy Birthday, Liebe Bundeskanzlerin (Dear Chancellor)" at a news conference in Brussels early Thursday - but got no backup from his colleagues.

Merkel laughed and said: "I should have sung along, then it would have been better. But thank you."

Merkel, who has led Germany for 8 ½ years, said her European Union colleagues at their summit "didn't sing, they just gave me flowers - that was nice too - and champagne."

The chancellor officially marks her birthday later Thursday with a reception at her party's headquarters in Berlin, where German historian Juergen Osterhammel is to deliver a lecture.

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