September 7, 2021, is marked the end of an era in global politics. On this day, Germany’s Angela Merkel left office after 16 years in power. She was the first woman and East German to become Chancellor. Merkel outlived four U.S. presidents, four French presidents, five British prime ministers, and eight Italian premiers. During her Time of chancellorship, she handled a series of crises. Merkel had to face political extremes at home. She had to tackle the problem of refugees.
Moreover, she was a skilled crisis manager on the European stage (Euronews). Merkel’s legacy and achievements for the EU are undeniable. As Time says, “Angela Merkel helped save the European Union. That’s an accomplishment that deserves lasting respect.”
Helping to overcome numerous financial crises
An important issue regarding Merkel’s legacy and achievements for the EU is her contribution to overcoming financial problems. Merkel contributed to Resolving the financial crisis of the E.U. member states, including Greece and Portugal. According to Time, Merkel believed that a strong E.U. would suit her country. She bridged the gaps and cut the deals, sometimes over the objections of her finance minister.
Merkel helped Europe’s most deeply indebted countries survive the 2010-2012 debt crisis. In response to the pandemic and the need for a bold economic recovery plan, she shifted German opinion on the market for joint European debt. Without Angela Merkel, and her willingness to take on more costs and risks so that others could take less, the E.U. might have lost much more than Britain.
Helping to overcome political and structural problems
Merkel’s legacy and achievements for the E.U. go beyond financial matters and includes politics. The New York Times says that the United States was distracted by multiple wars. Britain gambled its future on a referendum to leave the European Union. France failed to reform itself. However, Ms Merkel’s Germany mainly was a haven of stability. According to Bloomberg, Merkel has held things together at a European and domestic level. Throughout, she felt how much pain or indignity each of the many interest groups could bear. She knew how to reach compromises. In an alternative scenario without Merkel, the euro area might have fallen apart by now. As the Guardian states, across a decade of threats, from the Eurozone to Brexit, Germany’s outgoing Chancellor focused on holding the E.U. together.
Helping to resolve the crisis of immigrants
Another point about Merkel’s legacy and achievements for the EU is the issue of resolving the crisis of immigrants. According to the Guardian, today, left-wingers around the globe believe Merkel “opened the borders” for refugees. No doubt, Merkel put a lot on the line in autumn 2015. She explicitly invoked her Christianity to justify why she had to welcome those in dire need with open arms. As Sky news mentions, the crisis started when thousands of people began to go their way towards Europe. The immigrants were from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. However, the leaders of European countries were not very welcoming. Unlike those leaders, Ms Merkel took the view that Syrians, at least, would be welcome in Germany. She believed Syrians were fleeing from a brutal civil war and had nowhere else to go.
Facing external threats
Merkel’s legacy and achievements for the EU also include facing external threats. According to Clingendael, Merkel’s avoidance of conflicts led to paradoxical situations internationally. Since competition is abundant, particularly in a community as diverse as the European Union, her efforts to avoid it have produced unintended consequences.
The political scientist Štefan Auer writes, “this makes her both “technocratic and political,”. Štefan Auer writes this in his study of Merkel’s response to several issues. The issues include the eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis, and Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine. Besides, it says in Clingendael that the departing German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to have a strong dislike of perhaps the most common feature of politics: conflict.
Democratic societies encompass many interests and values, which inevitably clash with each other. The job of politicians is not simply to manage the problems by seeking an elusive sense of agreement. Their job is also to use Donald Trump’s favourite turn of phrase to win. Contrary to what Clingendael says, we should note that Merkel’s policy has successfully faced external threats.
Regulating of E.U. relations with Russia
Among Merkel’s legacy and achievements for the EU , we also mention E.U. relations with Russia. According to Sky News, Ms Merkel’s has advocated cooperation, not confrontation. This is clear from her willingness to engage with Russian President Vladimir Putin. We should note that many other world leaders have been unwilling to do so. With her fluency in Russian and political strategies, Ms Merkel was willing and able to deal with Mr Putin. She visited Moscow at least 21 times, far more than any other G7 leader. She brought Russia to the table over issues like the Ukraine civil war when others would have failed.
As financial times states, E.U. leaders were against Merkel’s idea for the bloc to hold its summit with Putin. It was the first summit since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Angela Merkel said that this saddened her. It showed, she said, that “we just don’t trust each other much”.