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77. Angela Merkel - Renowned World Stateswoman and Her Exemplary Handling of Covid

Updated: Jun 20, 2020

Who is Angela Merkel ?

Angela Dorothea Merkel ([a] née Kasner; born 17 July 1954) is a German politician who has been Chancellor of Germany since 2005. She served as the Leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) from 2000 to 2018. Merkel has been widely described as the de facto leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world, and by some commentators as the "leader of the free world".

Merkel was born in Hamburg in then-West Germany, moving to East Germany as an infant when her father, a Lutheran clergyman, received a pastorate in Perleberg. She obtained a doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986 and worked as a research scientist until 1989. Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989, briefly serving as deputy spokesperson for the first democratically elected East German Government led by Lothar de Maizière. Following German reunification in 1990, Merkel was elected to the Bundestag for the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

As the protégée of Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Merkel was appointed as Minister for Women and Youth in 1991, later becoming Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in 1994. After the CDU lost the 1998 federal election, Merkel was elected CDU General Secretary, before becoming the party's first female leader two years later in the aftermath of a donations scandal that toppled Wolfgang Schäuble.

Following the 2005 federal election, Merkel was appointed the first female Chancellor of Germany, leading a grand coalition consisting of the CDU, its Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). At the 2009 federal election, the CDU obtained the largest share of the vote, and Merkel was able to form a coalition government with the Free Democratic Party (FDP). In the 2013 federal election, Merkel's CDU won a landslide victory with 41.5% of the vote and formed a second grand coalition with the SPD, after the FDP lost all of its representation in the Bundestag. At the 2017 federal election, Merkel led the CDU to become the largest party for the fourth time, and was sworn in for a joint-record fourth term as Chancellor on 14 March 2018.

In 2007, Merkel served as President of the European Council and played a central role in the negotiation of the Treaty of Lisbon and the Berlin Declaration. One of Merkel's consistent priorities has been to strengthen transatlantic economic relations. Merkel played a crucial role in managing the financial crisis at the European and international level, and she has been referred to as "the decider". In domestic policy, health care reform, problems concerning future energy development and more recently her government's approach to the ongoing migrant crisis have been major issues during her chancellorship.

She has served as senior G7 leader since 2014, and previously from 2011 to 2012. In 2014 she became the longest-serving incumbent head of government in the European Union. In October 2018, Merkel announced that she would stand down as Leader of the CDU at the party convention in December 2018, and would not seek a fifth term as Chancellor in 2021.

I. Early Life

Merkel’s parents, Horst and Herlind Kasner, met in Hamburg, where her father was a theology student and her mother was a teacher of Latin and English. After completing his education, her father accepted a pastorate in Quitzow, Brandenburg, and the family relocated to East Germany (German Democratic Republic) just weeks after Merkel’s birth. In 1957 they moved again to Templin, where Merkel finished high school in 1973. Later that year she went to Leipzig to study physics at Karl Marx University (now the University of Leipzig). There she met her first husband, fellow physics student Ulrich Merkel, and the two were married in 1977.

After earning her diploma in 1978, she worked as a member of the academic faculty at the Central Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences in East Berlin.

In 1982 Merkel and her husband divorced, though she kept his last name. She was awarded a doctorate for her thesis on quantum chemistry in 1986.

As was the case for most children growing up in the German Democratic Republic, Merkel participated in the state’s youth organizations. She was a member of the Young Pioneers (from 1962) and the Free German Youth (from 1968). Her involvement with the Free German Youth has led to controversy, as some of her former colleagues from the Central Institute of Physical Chemistry claimed that she was active as a secretary for agitation and propaganda at the institute, though Merkel maintained that she was responsible for cultural affairs (e.g., procuring theatre tickets).

Merkel was not nor did she apply to be a member of the Socialist Unity Party, and when approached by personnel of the Ministry for State Security (Stasi) to become an informant, she refused.

II. Political Career

1. East Germany: first free parliamentary elections

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Merkel joined the newly founded Democratic Awakening and in February 1990 became the party’s press spokesperson. That month the party joined the conservative Alliance for Germany, a coalition with the German Social Union (DSU) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Several days prior to East Germany’s first and only free election in March 1990, it was revealed that Democratic Awakening’s chairman, Wolfgang Schnur, had been working as a Stasi informant for years.

Although the news shook Alliance supporters, the coalition was victorious, and Democratic Awakening became part of the government, despite having won a mere 0.9 percent of the votes. Merkel became deputy spokesperson of the government of Lothar de Maizière (CDU). She joined the CDU in August 1990; that party merged with its western counterpart on October 1, the day before the reunification of Germany.

In the first postreunification election, in December 1990, Merkel won a seat in the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) representing Stralsund-Rügen-Grimmen. She was appointed minister for women and youth by Chancellor Helmut Kohl in January 1991. Kohl’s choice of the young female political newcomer from East Germany appealed to several demographics and earned Merkel the nickname “Kohls Mädchen” (“Kohl’s girl”). Maizière, who had become the CDU’s deputy chairman after the eastern and western parties merged, resigned from his position on September 6, 1991, because of accusations of having worked for the Stasi.

Merkel was elected to replace him in December of the same year. After the 1994 election Merkel became minister of environment, conservation, and reactor safety, and she presided over the first United Nations Climate Conference in Berlin in March–April 1995. In September 1998 the CDU was ousted by Gerhard Schröder and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Merkel was elected secretary-general of the CDU on November 7.

She married her longtime companion, chemistry professor Joachim Sauer, on December 30 of that year ( 1998 ). In late 1999 a finance scandal hit the CDU, and Kohl was implicated in the acceptance and use of illegal campaign contributions. In an open letter published on December 22, Merkel, Kohl’s former protégée, called upon the party to make a fresh start without its honorary chairman. Merkel’s stance greatly increased her visibility and popularity with the German public, although it upset Kohl loyalists. On April 10, 2000, Merkel was elected head of the CDU, becoming the first woman and the first non-Catholic to lead the party.

As CDU leader, Merkel faced the lingering effects of the finance scandal and a divided party. Although Merkel had hoped to stand as a candidate for chancellor in the 2002 election, a majority of her party expressed a preference for Edmund Stoiber of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU’s sister party in Bavaria. After the CDU-CSU narrowly lost the election, Merkel became leader of the opposition.

2.First two terms and the euro-zone debt crisis

As support for the SPD wavered, Schröder called for an early general election to be held in September 2005, and the result was a virtual stalemate. The CDU-CSU won 35.2 percent of the votes, besting the ruling SPD by just 1 percent. Both parties sought allies in an attempt to form a government, but months of negotiations proved fruitless. Eventually, the CDU-CSU and the SPD settled on a “grand coalition” government with Merkel at its head. On November 22, 2005, Merkel took office as Chancellor, becoming the first woman, the first East German, and, at age 51, the youngest person to date to hold the office.

Angela Merkel, 2005.U.S. Embassy Berlin/Department of State Her mandate was emphatically renewed in parliamentary elections held on September 27, 2009. The SDP posted its worst performance since 1949, and Merkel was able to form a government with her preferred partner, the classical liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP). Merkel’s second term was largely characterized by her personal role in the response to the euro-zone debt crisis. Along with French Pres. Nicolas Sarkozy, Merkel championed austerity as the path to recovery for Europe’s damaged economies. Merkel’s most-visible success in that arena was the entry into force in January 2013 of a fiscal compact that bound signatory governments to operate within specific balanced-budget benchmarks.

In the September 2013 federal election, the CDU-CSU alliance won an impressive victory, capturing nearly 42 percent of the vote—just short of an absolute majority. However, because her coalition partner, the FDP, failed to reach the 5 percent threshold for representation, Merkel faced the prospect of forming a government with either the SDP or the Green Party, both of whom were likely to be reluctant partners. After more than two months of negotiations, Merkel secured an agreement with the SDP to form another grand coalition government. On December 17 she became Germany’s third three-time chancellor in the postwar era (after Konrad Adenauer and Kohl).

3. The migrant crisis and softening support

The struggling European economy continued to loom large as Merkel entered her third term—the prospect of a Greek exit from the euro zone was a recurring concern—but it was soon eclipsed by a pair of security challenges on the frontiers of the European Union (EU). A pro-Western protest movement in Ukraine drove pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych from office in February 2014, and Russia responded by forcibly annexing the Ukrainian autonomous republic of Crimea. As pro-Russian gunmen seized territory in eastern Ukraine, Merkel joined other Western leaders in accusing Russia of directly fomenting the conflict.

She spearheaded EU efforts to enact sanctions against Russia and participated in numerous multiparty discussions in an effort to restore peace to the region. Merkel was also faced with Europe’s gravest refugee crisis since World War II when hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, and elsewhere flocked to the EU. Although she maintained that Germany would keep its borders open in the face of the humanitarian emergency, Merkel temporarily suspended the Schengen Agreement and reintroduced border controls with Austria in September 2015.

More than one million migrants entered Germany in 2015, and Merkel’s party paid a steep political price for her stance on refugees. As the backlash against migrants manifested itself in street protests and at the ballot box, the right-wing Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland; AfD) was among the parties to capitalize on the rising tide of populism and xenophobia in Europe. In September 2016 the AfD placed second—ahead of the CDU—in regional elections in Merkel’s home state, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

4. Ukraine crisis

World leaders meeting in Minsk, Belarus, to discuss the terms of a cease-fire in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, February 11, 2015.

A battle of nerves ended this morning as the Russian and Ukrainian leaders agreed to a ceasefire in Belarus over contested territory in the embattled eastern European state.

Russian president Vladimir Putin announced the ceasefire would be effective from midnight 15th February, bringing hope to a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 5,400 people.

Pic : No smiles: Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande, Petro Poroshenko and Angela Merkel( Reuters )

It brings an end to tense 16-hour talks with the French and German leaders.

III. Coronavirus and Germany: Why the World Is Looking to Angela Merkel

“Lame duck” is the usual term given to politicians who don’t want to or can’t run for office again. With their political shelf-life suddenly measurable, such figures are condemned to being considered weakened and less effective.

Political observers have sorted Chancellor Angela Merkel into the lame-duck drawer many times in the last few years: after the poor showing of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the 2017 federal elections, then when she resigned as party leader in 2018, and then again during the various attempts by her former rival Friedrich Merz to take over as political leader in 2018 and 2020. Two years ago, even “Merkelites” in her parliamentary group were expecting a withdrawal sometime in 2019. But no, she’s still there, like an old VW Beetle: reliable, unadorned, a little awkward.

1. Tributes from across the globe

At the moment, Merkel is having a day in the sun of the kind she has not had for many years — both nationally and, even more so, internationally. “The media here looks at Merkel as one of the world’s strongest leaders,” Amichai Stein, diplomatic correspondent for Israeli public TV station Kan, told DW. “Merkel gets attention as a leader who can make people understand the situation and explain it clearly to people.” This assessment coincides with op-eds, political appraisals and social-media posts the world over. In March, the New Zealand Herald published an article headlined “Germany’s leader shines in crisis even as power wanes.” Earlier this week, a comment in Clarin, Argentina’s most widely read daily, became a hymn of praise to the chancellor. Commentator Ricardo Roa wrote of the “65-year-old doctor of physics, daughter of a Lutheran pastor and a Latin teacher,” who, even after 15 years at the top of power, behaves “like a normal person.” In the coronavirus crisis, Merkel is “one of the very few” politicians worldwide who do not protect themselves but “lead.” “She communicates with scientific rigor. She communicates with calm. She disarms hysteria,” Roa wrote.

The commentator even went on to coin a word in Spanish, “Merkelina,” to describe the “sobriety and determination” of her political leadership “by trying to solve problems and not trying to derive political benefit from those problems.”

2. ‘Uncharacteristic sentimentality’

This is praise that many in Germany are tired of after 15 years of Merkel’s chancellorship because it emphasizes less her political struggles than her crisis leadership. But it is also praise that shows up the fact that this kind of leadership is now scarce internationally. Similar voices can be heard in the US. Anyone who has read current issues of The Atlantic, Forbes and the New York Times will find praise for Merkel wrapped up with criticism of Trump. “For weeks now, Germany’s leader has deployed her characteristic rationality, coupled with an uncharacteristic sentimentality, to guide the country through what has thus far been a relatively successful battle against COVID-19,” 

The Atlantic wrote. Angela Merkel: With 30 yrs of political experience,& facing an enormous challenge that begs calm, reasoned thinking, Merkel is at peak performance modeling the humble credibility of a scientist at work.

And there are similar reports from London, where one reporter noted that at almost every government press conference, journalists ask why Downing Street is not following Germany’s example.

In Germany, the latest polls show Merkel’s handling of the pandemic has helped her achieve the highest approval ratings since 2017, which goes with her strong media presence as a crisis manager on German TV screens.

3.Praise from right and left

What is behind this almost global respect? Andreas Nick, a CDU Bundestag member and vice president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, says that “international observers and colleagues from other parliaments see the special nature of Angela Merkel’s decision-making and leadership style with much more clarity” than many in Germany after 15 years, he told DW. Nick sums up what counts: “Merkel’s approach is as pragmatic as it is goal-oriented, always analytically scrutinising and carefully weighing up, soberly Protestant and refreshingly unpretentious.” In addition, he says, she is a trained scientist with life experience in the “downfall of an all too self-confident ideological system,” and last but not least a woman.

4.Merkel without a mask

Throughout the crisis, Merkel has never appeared in public wearing a protective mask. She is simply Merkel, though perhaps she has never been as much of a scientist as she is now, as shown by her references to assessments, to evidence and conjecture, and her calmly analytical look ahead. These are things that often annoy Germans or make them fall asleep. 5. Who’s next?

For all the current euphoria, many are already looking to what happens next. In fact, in the last edition of the British Sunday Times, Germany’s coronavirus story was no longer a Merkel story at all: The photo showed Merkel alongside Bavarian State Premier Markus Söder, and the headline read “‘Corona Kaiser’ surges ahead in race to succeed Angela Merkel.”

And Amichai Stein in Tel Aviv also ponders the “after” question when he speaks of Merkel’s gift as a leader and her worldwide reputation: “The other reason for this international attention is that it is not yet known who will replace her …” he concludes. But the question will remain open for some time. (DW)

IV. Some of World Wide Awards and Accolades

1. Angela Merkel named Time's Person of the Year – the first woman since 1986

German chancellor awarded honor for leading Europe through debt crisis and standing firm in support of aid to refugees: ‘No one was tested more than her’ Person of the Year:

Angela Merkel: TIME’s 2015 Person of the Year Photograph: AP

Merkel is only the fourth woman to ever be named Person of the Year, after Time opened up the contest to women in 1936. She is the first woman to be awarded the title by herself since 1986. A group of women – Cynthia Cooper of Worldcom, Coleen Rowley of the FBI and Sherron Watkins from Enron – represented whistleblowers, crowned Persons of the Year in 2001.

2. Presidential Medal of Freedom ( US ) -2011

3. Fulbright Prize ( US ) - 2018

4. Vision for Europe Award ( 2006 ) 5 .Grand Cross - Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany-2008

6. Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding

7. Leo-Baeck-Medal ( USA) -2010 and

Angela Merkel's Historic Harvard speech

Notable Message in her Speech :

That's because some of the chancellor's biggest applause lines were thinly cloaked appeals to counter President Trump and his "America First" brand of politics:     

"More than ever our actions have to be multilateral rather than unilateral."

 "Don't disguise lies as truth, and truth as lies."

"Tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness."

These straightforward rejections of Trumpism were some of the strongest passages in her speech, along with the instances where she opened up a small window into her personal life.

"Every day I had to turn away from freedom at the last minute," is how Merkel vividly described how as a young woman living in East Berlin she literally used to walk by the Berlin Wall, but could never cross over to the other side.   

Merkel's personal passages and her appeals to reject Trumpism were important and affirmative in nature. They clearly expressed a shared sentiment with her audience. But even more interesting was what the chancellor did not say.

"Nothing ever stays the same"

While she lauded the values-based transatlantic partnership that had benefited both sides for more than 70 years, she did not offer a vow or a prediction that it would be around for another seven decades. The transatlantic defense alliance NATO, for example, routinely assailed by Trump, did not feature in her remarks.

Quick Facts

Name : Angela Merkel

Date of Birth :July 17, 1954 (age 65 as of 2020)

Do you Know : Angela Merkel is the first female chancellor of Germany.

Education : University of Leipzig

Place of Birth : Hamburg, Germany

Riginally : Angela Dorothea Kasner

Full Name : Angela Dorothea Merkel

Zodiac Sign : Cancer


Merkel’s style of government has been characterized by pragmatism, although critics have decried her approach as the absence of a clear stance and ideology. She demonstrated her willingness to adopt the positions of her political opponents if they proved to be sensible and popular.

One notable example of that was Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima accident in 2011 after having passed a law to prolong the operating life of Germany’s nuclear power plants only two years earlier. Merkel’s handling of the euro-zone debt crisis, on the other hand, led to criticism of an approach many considered too strict.

Indeed, even the broadly pro-austerity International Monetary Fund director, Christine Lagarde, drew attention to the harm that harsh austerity measures could inflict on an already-damaged economy. In spite of those challenges, the leader of Europe’s most populous and economically powerful country continued to enjoy strong domestic approval numbers.

In 2011 Merkel was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Angela Merkel's presence is Palpable across the Globe and She has guts to put anyone on the with her Critical Analsis.

Though her Humane approach and acceptance of Refugees flank in her own country and she has done enough course correction later stage.

As a One of the Great Leaders of the World at Present, She has the Extraordinary Ability to accept Critical Views of the Other Side.

Whole World and Germany are eagerly waiting for Answer to Question...,

Who is Next..... ?

Such is the Impact of Angela Merkel on the World.

MM Rao


Sources :

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