Auf Wiedersehen, Angela: How Merkel has shaped Europe and Germany

24.09.2021

Уход Ангелы Меркель знаменует собой окончание целой эпохи. Этот человек претендовал на то, чтобы называться самым влиятельным мировым лидером. Проведшая своё детство и юность в авторитарной ГДР, она вошла в политику с убеждением, что открытые общества всегда преуспевают больше, чем какие-либо иные. При этом Меркель своей волей скрепляла ЕС, считая его важнейшим элементом немецкой внешней политики. Человеку-эпохе посвящена статья Euronews

A day after the 2016 US elections, Angela Merkel offered the newly elected president what observers described as a thinly-veiled warning: cooperation only “on the basis” of shared democratic values.

Just two weeks later, she announced plans to run for a fourth term with pressure mounting on her to become “leader of the free world” and the West’s main defender.

It’s now the end of an era and no one can say for sure what will come next.

Merkel has been in power for nearly 16 years and throughout that time she has been a staunch defender of keeping the European Union together, becoming the sometimes controversial face of a crisis manager.

Her early life was marked by a move to East Germany as an infant when her father accepted a job as a pastor there.

The time she spent growing up in a socialist state influenced her view of Western values, says Stefan Kornelius, Merkel’s official biographer and head of politics at the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung.

“She really honed a very positive view of the West and the Democratic world and Western ideals which she held extremely high,” he said. She became “deeply convinced that open societies do function best”.

Merkel received a doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986, working as a research assistant before entering politics ahead of the fall of the Berlin Wall. She first entered politics during the Revolutions in 1989, joining a small East German party.

After German reunification she would become a member of the Christian Democratic Union, serving as Woman and Youth Minister under Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

“Until the age of 35, I only knew the European Union from the outside, and have only been an insider since 1990,” Merkel told the European parliament in 2007. “From the outside, the European Union is a historic success story without precedent.”

“Yet from the inside, too, the European Union is a wonderful house. In fact, I find it even more beautiful from the inside than from the outside…I don’t ever want to leave this house. I am convinced that there is no better place for us to live than in our shared European home,” Merkel said.

She has been credited with keeping that house together, fighting for the European Union to remain intact during both the financial and migrant crises.

“The German government, under Angela Merkel’s leadership, had a decisive influence on all of the recent crises in Europe, but most visibly and significantly looking at the global financial crisis and its effects on Europe,” said Jana Puglierin, head of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ Berlin office.

Many countries had large government debts when the US financial crisis turned into a global recession in 2009 and the crisis called into question the strength of the eurozone as many southern European countries, such as Greece, struggled.

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