German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed 'respect' towards SPD chief Andrea Nahles' announcement regarding her resignation, at a press conference in Berlin on Sunday.

Merkel added the SPD leader was not only a good colleague but also a "fine character." Besides kind words, the chancellor vowed to continue her government work reaffirming her support for the grand coalition.

The speech was accompanied by a Greenpeace protest outside the CDU's HQ. Activists brought a siren in a cage in an attempt to disturb the meeting of the CDU executive board, which convened for the first time after EU elections.

The statements came after CDU held its first executive board meeting after the EU elections. Pressure had been mounting on Andrea Nahles, after voters handed the party its worst ever European election results a week ago.

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