Saint Angela of Europe? – The Globalist


In the early years of Angela Merkel’s chancellery, the European People’s Party (EPP), the federation of center-right parties and Christian Democrats, was the master of Europe.

Ms Merkel could look west to France, east to Poland or Hungary, south to Spain, north to Scandinavia – and see EPP politicians in power for the most part from Europe.

Once upon a time

Center-right politicians have also served as Presidents of the European Commission, won numerous seats in the European Parliament and held key positions as European Commissioner.

Meanwhile, German EPP officials were Secretaries General of the European Parliament and the European Commission. They all regarded their patron saint, Sankt Angela, as their guide and protector.

Faded glory

Now the EPP is a pitiful state. Its member parties are being replaced in power by social democratic, socialist and green parties on the left – as well as ugly nationalist parties on the right.

The latter rule Poland and Hungary, are hostile to true journalism, to women and to all Europeans who are not white Christians.

Under these circumstances, it is not entirely clear why Sankt Angela is being celebrated as a giant politician.

An escape artist

Merkel practically avoided all major decisions, whether in Germany or in Europe, that involved reforms or required new thinking.

In Germany, his immediate predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, did all of the heavy lifting to reform the German labor market and boost German industry.

Surf the Schröder wave

Gerhard Schröder, not Angela Merkel, was the political force that resurrected the German industrial export machine. He paid the price for the loss of power.

The lesson Merkel learned from Schröder’s courage was never to have courage of your own. Hence Merkel’s motto: never decide today what can be postponed until tomorrow, or better yet forever.

Methodical calm

And this is the Merkel paradox. Compared to so many of his fellow Western leaders since 2005, the ridiculous Sarkozy and Trump, the here today missing tomorrow Italian Prime Ministers, the stupid Cameron or Boris Johnson totally egocentric or the forgettable presidents of the Commission and the Council of the EU , Merkel the discreet and methodical calm seemed impressive.

And yet, Merkel has always put her own political survival above the growing mountain of reforms that must be tackled in Germany.

Implementation of most reforms

Germany needs reforms to its decadent banking system. It needs new investments in infrastructure. The Covid pandemic has shown how inefficient a system made up of 16 different state-level health ministries is.

On the world stage, Merkel has acted as Putinversteher – someone who “understands Putin” – in chief.

Refuse to modernize

As soon as he came to power, Putin could sense the weakness in Berlin. Schröder had sent German troops to join American and British troops in stopping massacres by Serbian nationalists in the Western Balkans.

Merkel refused to modernize the German armed forces, which has made successive US presidents mad with frustration.

She was so callous that we are now at the point where a Democrat Europhile President Joe Biden says Europe must fend for itself – a proposal Merkel has consistently rejected.

China Commercial Attaché

It has not exerted any pressure on China, as Chinese mercantilism is combined with a ruthless repression of human rights.

The contemporary Chinese surveillance state fulfills all the hallmarks of George Orwell’s grim foreknowledge of 1984.

An isolated decision on refugees

Even his best known and admired initiatives were full of contradictions. In 2015, it opened Germany’s borders to one million mostly male Muslim migrants from the Middle East fleeing Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria.

This has been hailed as a holy act of generosity. But Sankt Angela has hardly consulted any European partner, in particular the new nations which are still poor and politically resistant to Central and Eastern Europe.

Hard Right Facilitator

The opening up of Germany and, by extension, Europe to this mass of largely uneducated male economic migrants has had a great political effect far beyond Germany itself.

It provided the political takeoff that nationalist and racist parties rising from the hard right like the AfD, UKIP, Front National, and Matteo Salvini’s Lega in Italy needed.

A scientist at work?

Merkel also reacted with emotion to the nuclear fusion in Fukishima in Japan. Overnight, she decided that Germany should stop using nuclear power.

While the move also helped her gain the support of Green voters during her 2017 re-election campaign, the move also makes Germany much more dependent on Russian gas.

A very selfish politician

Merkel used the refugee crisis and Fukishima to her own political advantage. But she hardly thought about the reaction of the rest of Europe.

It may all seem unfair. After all, a politician’s job is to get elected in his home territory – and Merkel has kept her promises.

A politician who leaves no legacy

But a great politician leaves a legacy. In Merkel’s case, she hits on that important score.

The great contribution of European Christian Democracy to the reconstruction of Europe after 1945 is now over.

The EPP, like the CDU in Germany, is weak and undesirable. Europe is confused and without a compass.

Conclusion

There is a lot to admire in Angela Merkel. She is a cunning survivor who left her party and her wider European political family in a much poorer and sadder state than when she became Chancellor of Germany.


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