When longtime German Chancellor Angela Merkel resigns after the federal election later this month, it will mark the end of an era not only for Germany but also for the European Union.
Merkel, who has been in power since 2005, is the third longest-serving chancellor in German history, only Otto von Bismarck in the 19th century and Helmut Kohl in the 20th century. And she has become the only female chancellor in the country.
For 16 years German politics has revolved around Merkel – and so has much of the politics of the European Union.
He is seen as a lasting influence on a largely broken group, a grown-up politician who can resolve and resolve conflicts, often finding a way out of seemingly disobedient conflicts within 27 member states, often delaying decisions or sheltering them.
It was for Merkel that Britain’s David Cameron sought to secure a deal he hoped would help win the 2016 Brexit vote – and it was Boris Johnson, a Conservative British successor who appealed to Berlin to help break a stalemate in withdrawal talks in London. . Brussels, which avoids a complete breakdown of relations between the EU and Britain.
Merkel 200 helped protect the bloc from the 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing euro crisis when the bloc’s currency was under serious threat. “If the euro fails, then Europe fails,” Merkel warned during the economic storm. He led a series of austerity measures in southern European countries, as well as providing aid and loans to struggling EU member states. He helped the European Central Bank buy huge amounts of government bonds and bring interest rates to zero, allowing ECB chairman Mario Draghi to deliver on his promise to “do whatever it takes” to save the euro.
Even Yannis Varofakis, the former Greek finance minister who forced Berlin to Athens on strict bail against Merkel, credited Merkel for preserving the European currency.
“Saving the euro during the global financial crisis of 2009, keeping Europe together during the refugee crisis, or dealing with the epidemic now, crisis management has always been its fair share,” think tank Carnegie Europe’s Judy Dempsey recently quoted Merkel’s legacy.
But Carnegie analyst described Merkel’s record as mixed and described her legacy as “unclear.” On the foreign front, “his legacy is, of course, inconsistent, especially with Russia and China and some of the EU’s own member states,” he said. To some critics, he was not strict enough with Russia and was too willing to allow profits and trade to define relations with Beijing.
Robert Terrell, a modern German scholar at Syracuse University in New York, also sees a mixed record, although he says Merkel’s assessment “will continue to change because social contexts inform the politics of memory.”
“In Europe, the Great Recession and the European Debt Crisis have pushed Merkel into the inevitable position of trying to stabilize the economies of more than two dozen states,” he told VOA. Although his austerity measures were well-received in Germany, it led to a kind of cultural consciousnessism among the Germans towards the Greeks. “In Greece, he is divided, some Greeks have blamed him for the worst time in recent memory,” he says. Euro-skepticism has also increased dramatically in Italy and Spain.
Although critical to the euro crisis, many of Merkel’s records have identified her allies as “strategic patience.” In 2015, the German dictionary publisher Langenschaid announced ‘Merkel’ – a verb form of Merkel’s name – ‘Youth Word of the Year’. In a conscious effort to avoid gender criticism, Merkel made it a point to make careful decisions, ”Terrell said.
Emigration and nationalism
He was not alert during the migration crisis of 2015-1, when millions of asylum seekers from the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia entered Europe. Critics of Merkel say her initial open-door policy encouraged a wave of immigration that engulfed Europe and sparked continental politics, encouraging the rise of populist nationalist parties.
“The refugee crisis was another watershed moment during his chancellorship – which will no doubt play a key role in shaping his legacy,” Terrell said. “Merkel’s decision to welcome more than a million refugees, which began in 2015, has divided the country. Supporters of the Wilcomanscultur – or ‘welcome culture’ – helped provide incoming refugees with money, supplies and emergency housing. Others resisted, making the refugee crisis a catalyst for a growing extremist nationalist attitude, ”he said.
This has led to tensions and conflicts with other EU member states, especially with neighboring European countries, Poland, Austria and Hungary.
Go to centrism
His record in Germany looks less mixed. Under Merkel, Germany changed. He took the Conservative, male-dominated Catholic CDU party to the center, which was not an easy task for those who grew up in communist East Germany and whose father was a Lutheran priest, ”Dempsey said.
Dempsey said he canceled military service, eventually adopting a single-sex marriage, giving parents more flexibility when it comes to newborn leave, and supporting the introduction of a minimum wage.
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. However, his enemies – and some green lawmakers – have argued that shutting down power plants meant that Germany had to use extra coal to emit greenhouse gases.
But similar to her performances on the foreign policy stage, some critics think that for most of Merkel’s 16 years, she preferred to do as little as possible on the domestic front, trying to manage and tinker rather than set broad visionary goals. Reach out to them
“Merkel’s years were a big bet on the indefinite continuity of the country’s production and export-driven growth model,” said Dalibor Rohak, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington. “Nevertheless, maintaining stability without increasing productivity is not a guarantee of unlimited economic prosperity, especially in an environment where Germany’s international value chain could be threatened by destructive de-globalization,” he warned.
She says Merkel’s success has been to avoid conflict as much as possible over the past year. This is a reassuring gift for the Germans.