Angela Merkel’s economic legacy
December 2, 2021 - Angela Merkel departs as Chancellor of Germany, having guided the world’s fourth-largest economy for 16 years. On Thursday (December 2), the Bundeswehr will say goodbye to Chancellor Merkel with the traditional Großer Zapfenstreich -- a retirement ceremony -- due to take place in the Ministry of Defence.
The 67-year-old’s popularity has soared during the pandemic, making her the nations’ best-liked politician.
Merkel’s era saw Germany roar from “sick man of Europe” to the world’s fourth-largest economy, behind only Japan, China and the U.S.
Crises started piling up during her first term. The 2008 global financial crisis -- triggered by a U.S. housing market meltdown -- hit European economies. Germany saw exports fall by a fifth.
In her second term, she worked with Russian President Vladimir Putin despite his annexation of Crimea. She defended Nord Stream 2 -- a second pipeline carrying gas directly from Russia to Germany under the Baltic Sea.
During her third term, she decided not to close Germany’s borders against almost 1.5 million refugees in 2015 taking the pressure off neighbouring nations.
In November 2016, Europe was shocked by Donald Trump winning the White House. Days later, outgoing President Barack Obama visited Berlin and tried to convince Merkel to run again as Chancellor to counter Trump and hold together the West. Merkel started her fourth term in 2017.
Merkel outlasted Trump, like so many others -- nine Italian and Japanese prime ministers, five British prime ministers, four U.S. and French presidents and two Chinese leaders. However, Xi Jinping is president for life.