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It is remarkable that Merkel is now seen as having been the leader of Europe, not to say Leader of the free world, when for much of her Chancellorship she was seen as an overly cautious, incremental, figure who specialised in side-lining all possible rivals.

Her decisions to admit almost a million refugees and close all nuclear power stations may have changed that perception, and may only have been possible because of her image as a "safe pair of hands". Nevertheless it is difficult to point to any signature achievements in her long reign, other than than providing stability in a period of crises.

Perhaps it is a salutary reminder that political leaders can do as much harm as good and that the old medical aphorism "First, do no harm" can be a good guide to politics as well.

She is warmly regarded in Ireland because of her support for the Peace Process and during Brexit, and for her visit to the Border where she empathised from her experience of the border in Germany which seemed genuinely heartfelt.

It is no small achievement for a German leader to be so widely liked and respected if not admired. It is difficult to see Macron achieving a similar status.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 26th, 2021 at 10:04:26 AM EST

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