After Angela Merkel’s 16-year rule ends, the EU seeks a new leader


After Angela Merkel leaves, who will hold leadership positions in the EU?Waiting for results German General Election this Sunday, European leaders are questioning whether it is possible to meet The huge gap left by the Federal ChancellorDuring her 16 years in power, Merkel has witnessed four French presidents (Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande and Emmanuel Macron) and three Spanish presidents The President of the Government (José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Mariano Rajoy and Pedro Sanchez) and eight prime ministers marched Italians.

What she often regrets is that due to the absence of other leaders, the prime minister Lead the European Union in all storms: The financial and debt crisis, refugee crisis, or coronavirus crisis from 2008 to 2012.

For the former President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude JunckerHe shared most of the itinerary with her, and his greatest achievement was the opening of the border to Syrian asylum seekers in 2015. . Greece could have gotten help earlier,” Juncker said in interviewing European News In it he assessed the career of the prime minister.

This disregard of her leadership role has cost Merkel There is a lot of criticism and hatred throughout the EUThe Greek crisis eventually affected Ireland, Portugal, Spain, and Cyprus; the southern countries blamed the prime minister Reduce Policy I had to apply in those years.Hungary or Poland continue to accuse him “Call effect” In the immigration crisis and the mandatory refugee quota he advocated, this created an unprecedented rift between Eastern and Western Europe.

In the end, Merkel’s main achievement may be Unite europe (if Brexit), Although On the edge of the abyss several times. The Chancellor of the Exchequer came to face her almighty Minister of Finance, Wolfgang SchaeubleIn 2015, we hope to expel Greece from the Eurozone. Even the most remote leaders recognize Merkel’s authority, ability to listen, complete lack of arrogance, pragmatism, infinite patience to negotiate at an eternal height until dawn, or a personality to remain calm even in the most stressful situations.

Angela Merkel and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero during the 2011 summit

European Union

“She supports the process of European integration. In very difficult moments, she has always been an anchor and a benchmark, and her overall balance is quite positive. But at the same time, with Helmut Kohl and other former foreign ministers different, Always defending the interests of Germany, For example in Euro governance or relations with Russia,” El Cano Royal Institute Chief Researcher EL ESPAÑOL Ignacio Molina told us.

In its European trajectory, there are also Two distinct stages“The first Merkel was even more distrustful. She didn’t want to lead. She was more calculated and cautious. Since the return of the big alliance with the Social Democratic Party in 2013, she has gradually turned to thank” Molina said. “He realized that he More must be bet on in Europe, and Germany must show more unity.”

In his farewell, The chancellor’s popularity across the EU has reached an unprecedented level, Even in countries in the East or the South. This can be largely explained by her recent transformation: if in 2012 she claimed that she would not have Eurobonds when she was alive, then last year she accepted a large-scale issuance of ordinary bonds to save Italy and Spain. An opinion poll showed that 41% of Europeans will vote for Merkel as the EU presidency. This proportion has risen to 57% among Spaniards, 52% among Portuguese, and 44% among Hungarians. of Think tank European Council for External Relations.

In contrast, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, The most obvious and most willing candidate to replace Merkel as EU leader, has The dilemma of European public opinion is much less. Only 9% of Spaniards or 6% of Dutch would vote for him to lead the European Union (the EU averages 14%).

David Cameron, Mariano Rajoy and Angela Merkel at the 2015 summit

David Cameron, Mariano Rajoy and Angela Merkel at the 2015 summit

European Union

“The departure of the prime minister left a leadership vacuum, because no one on the European political scene can occupy the space occupied by Angela Merkel, whether he likes it or not. None of the current European leaders have experience or recognized power This was granted to Merkel because it finally exercised power, but it was also granted,” Carme Colomina, chief investigator of the CIBOD in Barcelona, ​​assured this newspaper.

Macron is obviously not the creator of consensus Like Merkel, it actually produces certain antibodies, for example in some Central and Eastern European countries. Italy is not optimistic about Mario Draghi The same is true for Pedro Sánchez. If we take a historical journey, when will there be a very clear leader of a southern European country? Never,” Kolomina explained.

Other possible changes in the EU will depend on who wins the German election. If, as pointed out by the polls, the SPD candidate Olaf Scholz (Olaf Scholz) wins, “this will be a great deal for the European People’s Party, which has lost its biggest supporter and is excluded from the main EU government. Very important blow,” said CIBOD researcher.. At the same time, it will strengthen the social democratic family in Brussels.Pedro Sanchez and the Vice President Nadia Calvinho ——More importantly, because he has been working with him at Ecofin for 3 years-Already boasted about their close relationship with Scholz.

No matter who wins the election on Sunday, Germany will maintain its leading position in the European Union. It is the largest country, the country with the strongest economy, and the country with the largest budgetary space to deal with any crisis. This means that the next prime minister will inherit Merkel’s throne with almost nothing to do.

Angela Merkel talks with Pedro Sánchez during the 2018 summit

Angela Merkel talks with Pedro Sánchez during the 2018 summit

Who will become the leader of the European Union after Merkel leaves? : Merkel’s successorAs Merkel herself has done, this may take a while. or not. Perhaps, just like Macron, he came to Brussels when he was just elected and already knew exactly what he wanted. But it’s like a yellow jersey. People who wear it are already stepping on it just by wearing it,” Ignacio Molina pointed out.

Although in recent years the alliance of member states lobbied in Brussels has become common in the EU (e.g. frugal, MED9 (Mediterranean countries or East Visegrad Club), analysts unanimously believe that the real power will still be in the hands of the Franco-German axis. “Especially if Merkel’s successor continues to have Macron as a dance partner in ParisA researcher at the Elcano Royal Institute said that if Marina Le Pen wins the election next year, France will have nothing to do with it.

“Even in this flexible EU, the Franco-German axis is no longer decisive, because it knows that it needs to reach a broader consensus around it, but it is still the key. And at this time there are a lot of talks about strategic autonomy. Move forward and rethink the entire EU foreign and security policy strategy. France is a key country in this regard, so no matter who wins, the Franco-German axis will continue to be the core of European politics,” Carme Colomina pointed out.


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