Angela Merkel



61 years

July 17, 1954

family life

She was raised in the small, country side town of Templin, roughly 50 miles north of Berlin, in the German Democratic Republic (also known as East Germany). Living in the GDR meant that she was a part of the socialist-led Free German Youth movement. Through this organization she showed her leadership skills at a young age becoming a district board representative and secretary of Agitprop – the agitation and propaganda campaign of the youth movement. Merkel did not however, “take part in the secular coming of age ceremony Jugendweihe” * which was very popular in East Germany.


The President spoke today with Chancellor Merkel of Germany regarding developments in Greece. The two leaders agreed that it was critically important to make every effort to return to a path that will allow Greece to resume reforms and growth within the Eurozone. The leaders affirmed that their respective economic teams are carefully monitoring the situation and will remain in close touch. The President also offered his condolences for the loss of German citizens in Friday’s tragic attack in Tunisia.


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how did she became a lider

Angela Merkel has transformed German politics since being voted into office in 2005. Her achievements at home and abroad have seen her top Forbes’ most powerful women list eight times. Here are 10 reasons why the East German-raised politician with a doctorate in physical chemistry is considered the most powerful woman on the planet.

1 reason

Angela Merkel is now into her third term in office, and it has a historical dimension – not just because she is at the xenith of her power, but because Konrad Adenauer is the only chancellor before her to have had such a strong standing after a similar amount of time in office. Helmut Kohl and Helmut Schmidt came close, but neither were in as strong a position as she is at such a late stage in their chancellorships. She will go down in German and European history as a leader with a huge amount of staying power at the very least and as someone with some historic achievements to her name at best – particularly if she manages to save the euro.

It is indicative of her strong position that she has yet to declare whether she will run for a fourth term. The fact she has not ruled it out has certainly quashed earlier rumours that she might not see through her third term. It would certainly not be Merkel’s style to leave the stage early. What she will do afterwards remains pure speculation. She has refused to be drawn, though roles as European council president or the secretary general of the UN have been mooted, not least because they will be available in 2017.

2 reason

She is sometimes referred to as the de-facto leader of Europe or “the decider” and has often had the chance to cement that role during the euro crisis, not least this week over Greece. As far as Athens is concerned, Merkel holds the purse strings, and that will be even more acutely felt if the left-wing Syriza party, with its promises to abandon debt and ignore austerity measures, wins the upcoming election. Merkel has issued a thinly veiled warning that the eurozone could survive without Greece. Her insistence on imposing German-style austerity measures and reforms on the rest of Europe rather than giving in to constant pressures to flood the markets with ever more money won her few friends, particularly in southern Europe, but the steady hand she showed at a time of crisis saw her win praise and secured her huge support in Germany. Without the crisis she might have been just like any other leader. Instead, the crisis has come to define her tenure.


Merkel’s declaration that if the euro fails, Europe fails best expresses her commitment to the European project. It also underlines the historical opportunity she still faces as it is far too early to make a verdict on her policies. First, she has to save the euro, the plight of which is far from over. Eight years into his tenure as chancellor, Konrad Adenauer’s biggest challenge was the Treaty of Rome. For Helmut Kohl, it was German unification and Germany’s integration into Europe. The European project seems more endangered than at any other juncture and, therefore, is her biggest challenge. It will be largely up to Merkel whether it fails or succeeds, which is why she has placed Europe firmly at the centre of the agenda of her third term

3 reason

After more than 50 years, the Bundeswehr (armed forces) abolished compulsory conscription in July 2011, as part of plans to reduce the size of the military from around 240,000 soldiers to a professional and much fitter army of 170,000. It was pushed through by the then defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, with Merkel’s backing, despite the opposition they faced from many conservative politicians. Under her current defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, the Bundeswehr now has a child-care service and flexible working hours, underlining Merkel’s support for family life.