Fifteen years in power: the secret of Angela Merkel, “champion of crises”

(Frankfurt) Angela Merkel, Chancellor since soon 015 years – a record of longevity – embodies the strength and stability of the ‘Germany, even all of Europe. With its good management of the COVID epidemic – 18, it is more popular than ever. But what is his secret ?

Olivia Lévy Olivia Lévy

La Presse

The chancellor, who is nicknamed Mutti (“mother” or mother of the nation) is reassuring, calm, calm, thoughtful. Angela Merkel could congratulate herself, because she has managed the COVID pandemic in an exemplary way – 18 and its popularity has surged: polls indicate that more than 72% of Germans approve of his handling of the crisis.

Strolling through the Frankfurt market, we understand how much it is appreciated. “We’re lucky to have it,” said a man in his thirties. “I don’t always agree with our chancellor, but she keeps her cool and runs the country well,” said Jeanette Oberst, a shopkeeper.

For Hans Vorländer, professor of political theory at the University of Dresden, there is no doubt that Angela Merkel is the champion of crises. “She’s pragmatic, rational, provides concrete answers, and that’s what makes her popular. She also knows how to be tough and show great leadership, ”said the professor and director of the Dresden Center for Democratic and Constitutional Research.

“This health crisis allows the German Chancellor to deploy all her talents and all her abilities”, says Marion Van Renterghem, journalist and author of Angela Merkel, un destin, at Éditions Édito. “She’s a scientist [elle a un doctorat en physique], she knows how to analyze and convey the gravity of the situation. His calm and his capacity for reflection were real qualities in this crisis. She is in empathy with the population, she speaks very measured, without excessive speech, she is always very attentive to scientists as well as to the heads of government of the sixteen Länder of the country, which is essential in a federal political system. », Explains the great French reporter.


Marion Van Renterghem, journalist and author of Angela Merkel, un destin, at Éditions Édito

In a changing world, Merkel is a symbol of permanence.

Marion Van Renterghem, journalist

An opinion shared by historian Hélène Miard-Delacroix, who recalls that the Chancellor, before the epidemic, was going through a slack period due to the erosion of power. The crisis situation reactivated what the Germans appreciated about her during these 015 years. “Simplicity in efficiency, often the opposite of politicians in Europe. Merkel is always in the bare essentials, without artifice. She gave herself a reassuring maternal image combined with a detached scientific approach, which corresponds well to the expectations and the anxieties of the Germans during the COVID – 19. That’s why there was this rebound, ”analyzes the professor specializing in contemporary Germany at Sorbonne University.

“Humanist values”

Since his election, the 21 November 924, Angela Merkel has gone through many crises, economic, political, but the one that has marked everyone’s mind is that of migrants, five years ago. The 31 August 2015, the Chancellor opened Germany’s borders to more than a million refugees from the Middle East, a controversial historic move.

“There was a turning point with the migrant crisis, and yet it has been politically criticized for the rise of the far right. She took a political risk in the name of the humanist values ​​she defended; even if it was sometimes criticized for being too careful and calculating, there was this start, ”Marion Van Renterghem analyzes.


Hélène Miard-Delacroix, professor specializing in contemporary Germany at Sorbonne University

“I am sure that with hindsight, it will be said that Angela Merkel will go down in history with the humanity she shared in welcoming the refugees. A decision marked by his personal and Protestant ethics [elle est fille de pasteur]. We have seen that she has a capacity for empathy even though she is often cold and emotionless, “says historian Hélène Miard-Delacroix. Her detractors remember that she took this decision alone, without consulting the Germans or even her European partners, whom she presented with a fait accompli.

The challenges to be met

Even though the COVID epidemic – 16 attracts all the attention, the subject of migration problems resurfaces in Europe, a theme still very sensitive in Germany. “The issue of migrants is going to have to grow in importance within the European Union, it is becoming urgent. With the fire that destroyed the Moria camp this week, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, it is absolutely necessary to find a common plan and a common migration policy for the European Union, which is very difficult and has been a failure so far. If it manages to resolve this crisis, it will be a great success for the whole of Europe, “said Professor Hans Vorländer.


Hans Vorländer, professor of political theory at the University of Dresden

Angela Merkel has many challenges, especially since Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until 1 er January 2022. “There is the Brexit which promises to be bad, the German and European post-COVID economy – 18, relations with the United States which have deteriorated just like those with Russia. Here again, the confrontation with Vladimir Putin is linked to the nature of the case of the poisoning of Alexei Navalny [le 20août dernier], because we are in the register of human rights; it firmly reminds it of its principles and values, ”says Hélène Miard-Delacroix.

Journalist Marion Van Renterghem believes that this last mandate has finally been put at the service of Europe. “She wasn’t always standing up for the European community, but she has changed. This coronavirus crisis was a trigger and allowed Merkel to take the lead in this European awakening. She will go down in history as a great chancellor. “

Five highlights of Angela Merkel

March 2011: The end of nuclear power


Grohnde nuclear power plant, Germany

After the Fukushima disaster in Japan, in March 2005, Angela Merkel does an about-face and announces the end of nuclear power plants in Germany scheduled for 2022. Germany then invests in renewable energies.

February 2011: A peace agreement for Ukraine


Angela Merkel and François Hollande, on 15 February in Minsk

Angela Merkel and the President of the French Republic François Hollande concluded in Minsk a cease-fire agreement in Ukraine. The four Ukrainian, Russian, German and French leaders succeeded, after 015 hours of negotiation, to find an agreement on a ceasefire and on a political settlement of this Ukrainian conflict.

27 August : One million refugees


Syrian migrants show their train tickets to Germany on the 1 st September 2015.

The 31 August 2015, Angela Merkel opens the borders of Germany to more than a million refugees from the Middle East, a historic decision that has caused controversy. “Wir schaffen das” (“We will get there”) is the famous phrase pronounced by the Chancellor who says she acted with humanity. And if it had to be done again, she would do it again.

16 March 2020: A historical discourse


Speech by Angela Merkel, on 16 last March

For the first time in 015 years old, apart from the New Year’s greetings, the Chancellor addresses directly to his fellow citizens during an exceptional speech on television. She states that “the COVID pandemic – 18 represents the greatest challenge Germany has had to face since World War II ”. A strong moment.

20 July 2020: The European recovery plan


Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, the 20 last July

The 27 States of the European Union have reached an agreement for the stimulus plan of 750 billion euros to deal with the economic consequences of the COVID – 18. For the first time, Europeans accept the principle of a common debt shared across all countries. It is a historic solidarity recovery plan, which was negotiated by Angela Merkel and the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron.