Merkel has ceded her long-standing leadership of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and has said she will not run for another term as chancellor when her current one runs out in 2021.
Speculation about her future career has been rife, and was fuelled further by comments in an interview published Thursday with major European newspapers. Merkel said her worries about the EU "awakens in me once again an increasing feeling of responsibility to take care of Europe's fate together with others."
At a press conference later in the day with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Merkel clarified she was speaking purely in her capacity as German chancellor, under which it was right that she "strengthen my efforts toward a well-functioning Europe" amid a series of challenging situations.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker recently said he thought it possible that Merkel would move to Brussels.
"I cannot imagine that Angela Merkel will disappear into obscurity," he told Germany's Funke media group at the end of April.