Angela Merkel

Germany's Underrated Chancellor

Merkel AfD March AP
Angela Merkel is arguably one of Germany's best crisis managers, but her decade-long rule is being threatened by Europe's refugee crisis.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Angela Merkel, who marked 10 years as chancellor on Sunday, faces her toughest political test with Europe’s refugee crisis.

  • Facts


    • Angela Merkel is a physicist who has lead Germany since 2005 and the country’s conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union, since 2000.
    • She is the first woman and first former Eastern German to be German chancellor. Ms. Merkel’s political mentor was former Chancellor Helmut Kohl.
    • She is perceived to be Europe’s most powerful leader of the moment, and was ranked the world’s second most-powerful person by Forbes in 2012 and 2015.
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There was a time when Germany’s Christian Democrats used to celebrate ten years in office.

“Ten years of responsibility for Germany” was the slogan on a leaflet celebrating a decade in office by conservative Chancellor Helmut Kohl in 1992. Mr. Kohl’s event earned a big party in Bonn, including open-bar champagne.

Yesterday marked Angela Merkel’s own ten-year anniversary as German chancellor.

But she didn’t celebrate, although there would be many reasons Ms. Merkel and her party could be proud – despite terror warnings and a refugee crisis. Germany and its citizens made it through the financial and euro crises. Thanks to Ms. Merkel, the country has a strong position with the European Union and an excellent reputation abroad.

She is arguably the most powerful leader in Europe at the moment, the head of the continent’s largest economy, the world’s fourth-largest and the person in Europe who still has any kind of significant dialogue with Vladimir Putin. Globally, Ms. Merkel is the most powerful woman in the world.

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