Mrs. Merkel said the strong democratic institutions provided by West Germany helped underpin East Germany’s transformation.
When transitioning to a democracy, “you don’t stand a chance if you do not set up new structures,” Mrs. Merkel said. She said quick elections were not the best, short-term solution — even though the pro-democracy movements in Tunisia and Egypt want free elections as soon as possible to break from the past.
But given the immense changes taking place in the Middle East that have caught the E.U. and the United States off guard, Mrs. Merkel said the Europeans must be careful: they must stop giving advice.
“Egyptians are not wanting our advice,” she said. Instead, she added, “We would be advised to listen to the people and not tell them what we think. It is about what they think.”