German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s star is waning. After more than 13 years in power, it seems the end of her political career draws near. She may yet cling on until the 2021 federal elections, but has vowed not to seek another term in office. Her former finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, vehemently denies Merkel will be a “lame duck” chancellor, yet does concede she’s been politically “wounded”.

What sort of legacy will Angela Merkel leave behind? She has lead Germany during one of the most turbulent periods in recent memory, spanning the 2007-2008 financial crisis, the Eurozone debt crisis, and the 2015 migrant and refugee crisis. It’s undeniable that she will leave a strong mark on German politics, but what has been her impact on Europe as a whole?

Merkel’s supporters see her as cool, rational, consensus-maker who has brought stability to Germany and the EU. Every year since 2011, Forbes magazine has ranked her one of the five most powerful people in the world. When Donald Trump was elected to the White House, some observers even breathlessly proclaimed her the new “leader of the free world”. Under Merkel’s careful stewardship, Germany has gone from the “sick man of Europe” to an economic juggernaut with record-low unemployment.

Yet the chancellor’s critics call her indecisive and vague on important political issues, with has no strong vision for Europe. Many still blame her for the EU’s relentless focus on austerity, and for the chaotic handling of the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015 (though she received much praise at the time for showing leadership and compassion). Her leadership style has also been maligned as “technocratic”, ultimately leading to the collapse of the political centre across Europe and paving the way for the populists.

Has Angela Merkel saved Europe or destroyed it? Has her cautious leadership style provided stability and seen Europe through crisis after crisis? Or does she lack a vision for the continent? Has she been too unwilling to support bold EU reforms, and take necessary steps? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (c) BigStock – palinchak

51 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar

    She supported Brexit and destruction of Greece (to save big clients of German and French banks) and contribute to a 25% level OF POVERTY OR NEAR POVERTY for EUs citizens.A success in disasters

    • avatar

      Γεώργιος ah ofc the Greeks themselves did nothing.

    • avatar

      Arnout Yes they did.They remain in neoliberal oligarchic EU which destroys its citizens serving market sharks and warmongers.

    • avatar

      The destruction of Greece… yes… Greece is the founding of the theatrical drama.

    • avatar

      Russia I guess? There’s a lot of fearmongering thrown their way. Or maybe the economy in which the people who nearly collapsed it are still walking freely while the rest of us are paying for bailouts?

  2. avatar

    Europe has never been more divided since the world wars..

    • avatar

      I live in Germany, ppl still smilling, some tryin push all problems to immigrants…
      … In Italy you have a lot rights too, Afd already says i’m criminal, i have friends from italy, Iraq, Maroco, Boston, Vilnius, Yemen and Brandenburg we are friends :) and we never did crimes, i think divides just right wing from left one, thats how i’m thinking

    • avatar

      Herb nothing wrong with having friends but the majority of immigration policies are unreasonable at best and undermine western societies and values. If we don’t hold everybody to the same standards the rule of law will lose all credibility.

  3. avatar

    well, she did right things, she did mistakes too.
    I believe that it is difficult to be the Leader of Germany in Europe than be the Leader of Italy, Spain, Sweden etc etc.
    We the people like to criticize everyone but the truth is that we as ordinary citizens don’t know the “big picture” and all the information.
    For example, many in Germany and outside accuse her about the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015, but the truth is that IF she didn’t make that hard decision to open the borders of Germany, despite the fact that the majority of the German citizens (her voters) were against, then some medium European countries would have collapsed back in 2015 because of this problem.

  4. avatar

    Destroyed it! For German gains she gave place to Brexit, to the fall of Greece , to the increase of poverty in Portugal, to the present situation in Italy , just to name some! And now what is EU? Yes I insist she destroyed EU and now look at her country!

    • avatar

      Could you do it better? Then who can?

    • avatar

      Increase of poverty in Portugal? This is a whole new kind of stupid!

    • avatar

      Herb your comment is a no comments really

    • avatar

      Ricardo another comment with no comments !

    • avatar

      Well you’ve kinda just made a baseless claim there. There isn’t any evidence poverty has increased in portugal of any substantial amount.

  5. avatar

    Neither of them. You always ask radical questions which deserve no answer.

  6. avatar

    Merkel and Germany are going to destroy Europe for the third time

  7. avatar

    Saved it in the short term from financial collapse, but destroyed it in the longer term due to a reckless gamble on population replacement.

  8. avatar

    That question is just plain stupid.

    • avatar

      From what?
      The EU has more internal conflict than ever as a result of her work.
      During her reign in Germany inequality and poverty increased.
      During her rain over the EU violent crime and social unrest increased along with political differences.
      Germany is supposed to be one of the EU countries with equal rights with the others, but the workings of the EU was corrupted and she was given undue power without a European democratic legitimacy.
      The results are disastrous.

    • avatar

      That is the joke of the week! Ha !

  9. avatar

    Europe is divided. That is a fact, although it is not just her, who turned things to that direction. You cannot make omelette without breaking eggs.

  10. avatar

    The problem is austerity imposed due to with a mistaken belief in neoliberal liberal economics or cynically to use shock doctrine to move wealth from the many to the few

  11. avatar

    See the way she treated Greece. You’ve got the answer.

  12. avatar

    She has tried to destroy Greece for sure!! She had an agenda but the indomitable Greek spirit will never be eradicated!! Her time is up, mission unaccomplished!! Time to go Merkel, and take the wheelchair with you!!😈😈😈

  13. avatar

    I love the way this page asks a complex question while giving you 2 basic multiple choice answers which everyone falls for.

    She is a good person that done a great job, but the question is very completed.

    Just be a good person to others and you will be fine. Job done.

    • avatar

      Inequality and poverty in Germany increased. Is that a “great job”?
      Maybe she has only very good press, don’t you think?

  14. avatar

    She destroyed Schengen…she destroyed Europe sécurity …she put at stake européan cultures and national identities …..she jeopardises Europe future and peace

  15. avatar

    She’s done immense damage. I can’t think of anyone who’d have done much better though. She’s pretty bog standard. European politicians are mediocre at best these days.

  16. avatar

    <3 Angie…. she made mistakes for sure. But as long as we have these pesky Nation-States, there will be divisions.

    People complain….but do little to do better and if they attempt to do better, it is normally for their respective Nation-State and not for the European Union.
    #OneEurope #OnePeople #ManyCultures #OneLove

  17. avatar

    Totally collapsing in long term. It has started already

  18. avatar

    You owe it to her, that you are able to pose the question.

  19. avatar
    EU Reform- Proactive

    In the end she was Europe’s “destroyer in chief”!

    13 years in “high office” has ended with Mrs. Merkel being out of office due to her ever growing political naivety, arrogance and underestimating the patience and will of the German Volk.

    The polls have spoken- thanks to the UN’s unalienable enshrined right to a nations self determination= “national sovereignty”!

    The EU- if not reformed substantially (return to economic cooperation- not political, enlargement, social & cultural integration at all cost) will follow a similar fate in future. The simple reason is that no “opposition party” is ever allowed in the EP/EU! So regulated by the EU!

    In fact, the EP is a well designed dictatorial one party pro EU party forum who outlaws’ any EU opposition. Any transgression is punishing national sovereignty via a self created legal entity for its own survival & protection!

    Mrs. Merkels’- “all welcome”- proved to be a fallacy; led to her party’s Stalingrad and is costing the Germans, the EU & Europe dearly.

    Good riddance Mrs. Merkel- you overstayed your welcome without realizing it!

  20. avatar

    Politics is not yes or no. Wrong question.

  21. avatar

    One bad politician. Only liberal internationalists and socialist internationalists could support such madness.

  22. avatar

    Merkel destroyed all Europe with austerity and with the immigrants.Only Germany is happy

  23. avatar
    catherine benning

    Has Angela Merkel saved Europe or destroyed it?

    The policy of open door immigration and austerity, along with the collusion of Global policy on moving toward the impoverishment of European people, was and is, without doubt destructive. However, she was not alone. She was given her role for the last 13 years because she was an enabler for their cause. She did not do this alone, no one person had or has that power. It has to be collective. What has gone wrong? These ‘New World Order’ people stupidly did not heed the obvious when forcing us to be controlled by their thought police. The deployment of ‘hate’ crime and the insult of ‘racism’ against nations citizens who had put up with the misery of invasion for years, has been destroyed by those they thought would bring about their goal. Immigration is destroying their culture it was and is being annihilated and the fury from mass murder, rape and attacks on their person, carried out by invaders, whilst for years, governments turned and blind eye and covered their brutality, made it impossible for Europeans to deny the tyranny against them any longer. They knew they had been betrayed and by their leaders. And that is what brought down the house of cards around us. Those at the top being so arrogant and so despising of the people who footed the bill for this crime against them and their way of life, found nothing could keep them quiet any longer. They were not going to eat the poison sandwich offered to their starving mouths in order to commit national suicide after all.

    One does wonder when and how these elite will be held accountable for what they have done. But, as I wrote above, Merkel was one of very many merry men who feasted off their fellow man.

    • avatar

      Agree with Catherine Benning.
      Thanks for sharing the opinion.

  24. avatar

    She definitely hasn’t saved it… nor destroyed it. She has set it back. That’s for sure. I can’t wait for her to go but I am afraid that the problem of German aggression will not.

  25. avatar
    catherine benning

    Has Angela Merkel saved Europe or destroyed it?

    The German people must seriously love this woman and the impending downfall that Germany is facing under her lead. Blinkers cannot be the culprit. Time frame is not conducive to any further pretence.

    I wonder what her motive is? Anyone got any ideas? It certainly isn’t for the German culture and their future as world leaders is it?

    I’m a Brit that admires the German people and their remarkable abilities. That’s why this prolonged infatuation doesn’t make any sense at all.

  26. avatar

    I do not believe she either saved it or destroyed it. I believe she is in an important position during these crucial times, Brexit, migration crisis, and she needs to make decisions and there will always be people who are not in favour of those and there are people who are. When looking at those decisions, I believe she always strived to become a union, a force. Looking at the pact she just made with Macron about the European Budget, she still believes in the future of Europe while others would have let it slip. So in my opinion, Merkel had done remarkable things and everyone knows she is capable of doing more.

  27. avatar

    I do not believe she either saved it or destroyed it. I believe she is in an important position during these crucial times, Brexit, migration crisis, and she needs to make decisions and there will always be people who are not in favour of those and there are people who are. When looking at those decisions, I believe she always strived to become a union, a force. Looking at the pact she just made with Macron about the European Budget, she still believes in the future of Europe while others would have let it slip. So in my opinion, Merkel had done remarkable things and everyone knows she is capable of doing more.

  28. avatar
    George Yiannitsiotis, PhD

    Angela Merkel threw the first stone against Europe back in May 2010, when it forced debt battered Greece to debt-slavery. Talking about PIIGS, the neonazionalist German policy to secure economic supremacy within the EU, destroys Europe. Now, everybody can see what was predictable (for serious Political Scientists) back in 2010.

  29. avatar

    It appears that party affiliation has been constraining EU leadership. Quitting party leadership might have offered Angela Merkel more independent decision making and perhaps more Europe oriented.

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