1. Video content

    Video caption: Merkel avoids handshake with EU's von der Leyen

    Germany's Chancellor Merkel awkwardly avoids shaking hands with EU leader Ursula von der Leyen.

  2. Merkel's Germany

    Video content

    Video caption: As Angela Merkel steps down as German chancellor, we assess her legacy.

    This autumn, Angela Merkel bows out after 16 years as German chancellor. In that time, she has been a key player on the world stage, but how has she changed her own country?

  3. European mask rules stricter - but not always observed

    Nick Beake

    BBC News, Brussels

    A woman pushes a shopping trolley past a sign for a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre installed inside a supermarket in Brussels, Belgium, August 30, 2021
    Image caption: Belgium has dropped mask requirements in shops, but Brussels is different

    In the UK, the conversation has returned to whether or not people should keep wearing masks, to help stop virus transmission, as daily case rates remain high.

    Across Europe, Covid rules have been as varied as the local dishes I've sampled on my recent travels.

    Some areas of Germany have stricter rules than others but you still see masks widely used on public transport and in offices.

    Meanwhile, in sparsely populated northern Norway there wasn’t a mask in sight. Not even when we had a quick drink with the then prime minister in a packed bar after a day of election campaigning.

    This month Belgium dropped the requirement for face coverings in shops and restaurants, although you still have to wear one in the Brussels region, where you must also now prove your vaccination status to eat indoors.

    But no matter where you are in Belgium you still have to wear a mask on public transport – just like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, although not England.

    In Poland, face masks are supposed to be worn in all public places, apart from a handful of exceptions like forests and parks, but it felt like it was a matter of personal preference. We'll see if that changes across Europe if cases continue to rise.

  4. I feel very honoured - new black German MP

    BBC Focus on Africa radio

    While talks continue to see who is going form Germany's next government, one newly elected MP is still coming to terms with the fact that she is the country's first black female lawmaker.

    "I really really feel very honoured," she told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

    Eritrean-born Awet Tesfaiesus, who trained as a lawyer, represents the Green Party.

    She said that when she was growing up she could never imagine becoming an MP as she never saw black people doing those kinds of jobs.

    As a student in the 1990s she considered leaving the country because of the level of racist violence that she witnessed.

    Now she is committed to staying and making a difference for her son, saying that she does not want him wondering if he has a future in Germany.

    Listen to the interview with the BBC's Paul Bakibinga:

    Video content

    Video caption: Eritrean-born Awet Tesfaiesus is among the newly elected MPs of Germany's Bundestag