The EU is about to lose its ‘queen’

The EU is about to be without the queen - Photo 1.

Workers clear a billboard with an image of Merkel with the words “Mother of the Nation – Thanks for 16 years of hard work” before the election in Hamburg (Mother of the Nation – Thanks for 16 years of hard work). Germany) on September 24 – Photo: Reuters

As a result, the overwhelming majority of opinions favor Merkel, with 41% compared with 14% for Mr. Macron. In the EU’s political and media leadership, Merkel is often referred to by many names, from “the most powerful woman in the EU” to “the queen of Europe”.

Imprints

During the decades since its founding, France and Germany have remained the mainstays of EU policies.

While internal political upheavals, especially frequent changes in political leadership, limited France’s role, a stable Germany under Merkel’s leadership emerged to play the role. central role in the organization’s decisions.

Sharing the same vision as former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, who has guided and sponsored her in her political career, Merkel believes that a cohesive EU in the long term is beneficial to the security and development of Germany. Germany in particular and Europe in general.

It is not difficult to spot the imprints on the EU policy of Mrs. Merkel, who is also nicknamed “Krisenmanagerin” (“Crisis handler”, in German).

Over the past 15 years, the EU has experienced many turbulences that threaten not only the economy, politics but even the existence of the bloc such as the euro crisis, the migration crisis, the Brexit crisis, and more recently. especially the COVID-19 crisis.

When the debt crisis of Greece and Southern Europe broke out, threatening the very existence of the euro zone, Mrs. Merkel, with the support of the Nordic countries, intervened, accepting the Southern European countries. is on the verge of default to continue to stay in the euro area.

Or during the migration crisis, when the southern fringes of the EU bear the brunt of the influx of millions of people from the Middle East and the conflict between member states over how to handle this issue is increasingly tense. , Mrs. Merkel bravely opened Germany’s door to more than 1 million refugees.

The decision was controversial within Germany, with the result that the far-right AfD party was elected to the German parliament for the first time since World War II.

The most recent is the COVID-19 crisis that broke out in early 2020. Faced with the possibility of a collapse of the single market area when the economies of poorer member countries in Southern and Eastern Europe were severely affected by the pandemic. During the pandemic, along with France and the richer Nordic member states, Merkel’s Germany accepted to share the burden, providing a 750 billion euro budget for the EU’s recovery fund to help member states. poorer members overcome the consequences of this crisis.

Contradictory opinions

There are many mixed opinions about Mrs. Merkel’s legacy. Those who want a stronger EU say Merkel lacks a vision of the EU’s future and doesn’t have the assertiveness needed to push the EU forward.

Her decisions are said to be made only when cornered and there is no other choice when the existence of the EU and German interests are affected.

Besides, there are many grievances, especially from countries that are heavily affected by the euro crisis and the COVID-19 crisis in Southern and Eastern Europe.

They argue that Merkel puts Germany’s interests first and imposes austerity measures on these countries to serve the interests of Germany’s powerful export industry, even pursuing doctrine of “Germany first”.

At the same time, there are many opinions about the fact that Mrs. Merkel has put Germany’s economic interests ahead of her and ignored the EU’s common “values” of law and human rights in her dealings not only with countries outside the EU such as Russia, China, and Turkey but also to members such as Hungary or Poland.

In short, it is difficult to fully appreciate Merkel’s legacy when it comes to balancing her position as German chancellor with her status as the EU’s de facto leader.

Nevertheless, Merkel’s role as an implicit leader in the EU in the early years of the 21st century is undeniable. Perhaps it will be a long time before the EU can have a leader with such a role, a position that requires large enough influence and long enough leadership time to be able to leave its mark. only me.

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