In the month of February, Angel Merkel met with all the key players in involved in Europe’s precarious security. Combined with her track record in the economic sphere, she is now the point of reference not only as mediator, but also as a leader.
Cautious, flexible and willing to compromise, Angela Merkel’s brand of conservatism has transformed her Christian Democratic Union and made Germany an economic and political force to be reckoned with.
As the recent slowdown shows, Europe’s economy is very much contingent on how Germany decides to deal with its specific economic issues. Expansionary policies are still mistrusted and a trade surplus might become cause for concern.
By sticking to her guns throughout the campaign and remaining firm with respect to her winning European policy, Angela Merkel has not only outlasted the naysayers who criticized her abroad, she has also shored up an unprecedented popularity at home.
Over a decade of life in the eurozone has made some Germans nostalgic for the good old Deutschmark.
Now a new party has cropped up on the political scene, which is fed by the wistful desire to be free of Europe’s profligate economies.
While the German economy appears to be holding steady, there is a growing problem in German society: the wealth gap. The middle class is shrinking, and this is placing more strain on the poor and the ever increasing number of elderly.
Germany’s upcoming elections will be a referendum both on Merkel’s performance and on the future of Europe. While the Chancellor is respected throughout the country, the recent economic slowdown may undermine her popularity.
Germany is a without a doubt Europe’s powerhouse. But the powerhouse is getting old. It seems the only people in Germany having children are foreigners, and this has many Germans very worried.
After abandoning its nuclear program, Germany’s lack of clear vision in resolving its energy needs is due largely to a significant increase in costs, the fear of handing over geopolitical power to Russia, and the possible end of the renewable energy dream.
More than two decades after the unification that weighed so heavily on their economy, Germans are reaping the benefits of earlier far-sighted reforms. Is imitating Germany the answer to Europe’s current troubles? Only partially.
While the US and the BRICs are obsessed with growth, the German economic model of rigor and austerity seems to be going against the current. Yet the numbers show that Germany’s efforts have proven successful. Will this, however, be the right recipe for Europe?