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Merkel, Merkel everywhere….

Writer and translator Susanne Pleines charts the progress of Germany’s diplomatic Superwoman.

War in the Ukraine? Euro crisis? Trans-Atlantic Trade agreement?

In recent days, Angela Merkel is rarely out of the news, as she has been playing a pivotal role on many international stages. The woman who Germans affectionately call ‘Mutti’ is currently in high demand in political quarters. Her patient diplomacy in Moscow, Kiev, Brussels, Berlin, Washington and Minsk is one of the stabilising factors many foreign heads have come to rely upon.

Abroad, she is resolute, logical and persistent. And perfectly suited to the role. Having grown up in the former GDR she not only speaks perfect Russian but is also able to understand the thought patterns and emotions of her Eastern European counterparts. Her gentle, conciliatory, ‘well let’s face it’, maternal style calms down hotheads and machos alike and achieves much more than the confrontational attitude others would bring to the table.

Nonetheless, she’s no pushover. But instead of threatening gestures she tells it as it is. Sanctions yes, weapons no. Shaky as it may be, the current ceasefire in Ukraine is to a great extent down to the German Chancellor and her ability to talk and persuade.

We all wish for world peace. Superwoman Angela Merkel is one of the few politicians who can deliver.

With a new government in Greece, the Euro crisis is far from over and Merkel has a lot of ground to cover.  She’s already met Alexis Tsipras and welcomed him with open arms. But has anybody told him what Mutti’s “friendly welcome” really means?

Her successes abroad are all the more surprising as she has a completely different reputation at home. Among her fellow Germans, she is known as a hesitant and opportunistic leader who succumbs to pressure like butter to a knife. After the problems at Fukushima, she caved in to public demand and U-turned on the question of nuclear power. And she heavily compromised with her coalition partner SPD on the minimum wage.

Maybe she is lucky that there are no pressing domestic issues at the moment and she can fully concentrate on her role as an international head of state. In future, however, and with the 2017 elections in mind, she’d have to make sure that her international successes are matched by domestic ones. If so, she has every chance of becoming the longest serving German chancellor, pushing Helmut Kohl and his 16 years off the top spot.

 

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