Across a decade which has seen rising tensions and upheaval across parts of Europe, one constant on the political landscape has been Mrs Merkel. First elected as Chancellor of Germany in 2005, she is one of the longest serving European leaders in history. Her decision to not seek re-election in September 2021 undoubtedly represents the end of an era.
What has marked Mrs Merkel out across the last 15 years has been her stability or, more specifically, the popular perception of her as a stable leader.
Leading the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), a party whose first Chancellor had the slogan ‘no experiments!’ and which has moved ever closer to the centre across its 76-year history, Mrs Merkel has been able to develop a reputation as a bulwark of German politics and a “safe-bet”, evidenced by the healthy majorities her party has received in the last four federal elections.
In a recent report, though, investigative journalist Mathew D. Rose, argued how German hegemony has actually destroyed EU democracy, while Mrs Merkel put neo-liberalism and Germany first.
EU spin portrays the Union as an agent for hope and change, but according to Mr Rose, it has become an entity where reality and claims are diametrically opposed.
The journalist noted that as she departs the political stage, the German Chancellor “is looking ever more like a tired Margaret Thatcher without the moral handbag”.
Analysing the Chancellor’s legacy, Mr Rose wrote: “Where refugees slip through or take other routes, ships of the EU’s border agency Frontex simply push back their boats – of course in violation of international law – leaving many to die on the open sea.
“But read the website of the EU internet page concerning the Common European Asylum System and you will find this: ‘The European Union is an area of protection for people fleeing persecution or serious harm in their country of origin.’
“While the Right is satisfied that the EU border has been almost hermetically closed to refugees, the Left celebrates that the EU is open to refugees. Both politely ignore the corpses in the Mediterranean.
“What no one wants to admit is that this EU narrative has been falling apart along with Mrs Merkel’s reputation.”
He added: “That the EU was incapable of providing a unified response to the COVID-19 crisis is no secret as national borders were closed and some EU nations withheld medical supplies (including Mrs Merkel’s Germany) from other EU nations in acute need.
“The EU’s attempt to coordinate a vaccine programme has been a disaster – still ongoing.”
“We are witnessing similar developments with regard to climate change”, Mr Rose continued.
JUST IN: Boris Johnson to repeal David Cameron’s ‘catastrophic’ law
He concluded: “The EU is currently adopting Merkel’s ‘Brown Deal’, although recently her much heralded ‘National Climate Programme’ for Germany has been ruled unconstitutional by Germany’s highest court because it does not fulfil the requisite climate goals.
“As in Germany, intransparent backroom deals between lobbyists and EU politicians and technocrats are producing over-promising and under-delivering measures that instead of halting climate warming are prioritising corporate profits. There is lots of spin, but truly effective measures are not yet recognisable.
“The EU already missed its chance during the COVID-19 crisis to start building back better.
“Instead it permitted governments to subvention high polluting industries, often without conditions.
“Wherever you look, you will find that the EU is inexorably advancing neo-liberalism to the sole benefit of corporations.”
In a recent report, head of Oxford-based think-tank Euro Intelligence Wolfgang Munchau echoed Mr Rose’s claims as he argued the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin in Mrs Merkel’s country is visible in many areas.
He wrote: “The Germans, too, follow the plight of Navalny with interest.
“But there is no discussion about sanctions.
Kate Hoey branded Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal ‘betrayal’ of UK [INSIGHT]
Sturgeon’s EU dream dismantled as ‘Scottish rates would be crushed’ [REVEALED]
EU recovery fund may be ‘overthrown by Finland’ [ANALYSIS]
“And certainly no discussion that would link the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Navalny’s health.
“Merkel may have given Navalny her emotional support when she visited him at a Berlin hospital.
“But German politics has been and remains on the side of Putin.”
The Nord Stream 2 project is an underwater twin pipeline that would transport natural gas from Russia directly to Germany.
At a length of 1,230 kilometres, it is to follow the route of the existing Nord Stream twin pipeline underneath the Baltic Sea.
Since it was first planned, Nord Stream 2 has drawn criticism from the US, where both the Democratic and Republican parties believe that the project would increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for natural gas, thus emboldening its President Vladimir Putin.
According to Mr Munchau, though, the Nord Stream 2 project is a “monument to the Russo-German relationship” and probably “the most important strategic partnership in Europe right now”.
He added: “We see Russia’s influence in Germany in other areas too.
“This weekend we heard about the rise of vaccine-tourism.
“For €1,999 (£1,742) a tour operator organises two separate flights to Moscow for two vaccination appointments, plus another €300 (£262) for the vaccine itself.
“This is interesting not only because Sputnik V has not even been approved in the EU, but also because it is a vaccine of the same type as the much-maligned AstraZeneca.”