The most powerful woman in the world. How Angela Merkel became chief politician of Europe and the danger she’s facing right now. The Story Of “Medusa”
Angela Merkel, the 62-year-old native of Hamburg, who grew up in East Germany, for 12 years he has held the position of Chancellor. During this time she managed to become the most powerful politician in Europe, and in recent years the symbol of Western liberalism, which from all sides threaten the new right and conservatives.
In the fall of 2017, Germany will hold parliamentary elections in which the threat can be applied to a Merkel: there is a strong probability that her party CDU in the elections will lose power and the Chancellor have to resign. Especially for the “jellyfish” living in Germany, the journalist of “Deutsche Welle” Dmitry Vicadin talks about how Angela Merkel has managed to make a brilliant political career and what challenges it faces now.
Saturday evening, September 12, 2015 the head of the Federal police of Germany Dieter Roman, a man with a face aged action hero, ordered his subordinates to begin preparations for the closure of the border with Austria. Hundreds of police officers and border guards spent the night in the bus on the way to border posts — and in Hamburg has equipped a temporary airfield with helicopters ready to deliver to the South for reinforcements. To avoid leakage in the media, which could cause panic among heading to Germany of refugees, a spokesman for the German interior Ministry made the unprecedented decision: he gathered the journalists, told them about the existing order — and asked to remain silent.
The Schengen agreement actually did not include no border control between Austria and Germany — but the latter had serious reasons to break it. To those of the September weekends the country actually ran out of resources for the reception of refugees. Even with gyms with lying on the floor mattresses, in all of Germany has only 850 seats for the accommodation of refugees and the calculations showed that for the weekend to cross the border to 40 thousand people. And they would not be limited to: countries on the way of the “Balkan route” for refugees were applied to this effort; Macedonian Railways, placing additional trains in the direction of Germany, for the first time in its history went into profit. “We are in a plane, which runs out of fuel, and we have no plan of action” — summed up one of the regional police officials.
To close the border could only be the one who opened them — Chancellor Angela Merkel
In the afternoon of 12 September, she just got a text from his main opponent — the head of Bavaria Horst Seehofer directly called the opening of the borders by mistake. An hour after she received a message with the text “I urge you to realize the seriousness of the situation,” Merkel during a public speech declared that the protection “will get only those who really need it”, explaining that to allow Germany economic migrants is not going to.
At three p.m. Saturday Merkel from his office a few hundred meters from the Reichstag convened a conference call with five other key politicians in Germany. It was decided, in which the police began to move to border posts in the South. It seemed that all was already clear — but the Minister of internal Affairs of Germany Thomas de Mezieres next hours unsuccessfully asked the Chancellor to confirm the order on closing of borders. Not saying Yes or no, she was wondering, can the Minister guarantee that the order will not be challenged in court, but also to prevent the appearance in the press “unpopular images.” De maizière could not — and Merkel retreated. Buses with policemen turned back. The boundary for another six months remained open for refugees.
These few hours in September 2015 have become a major moment in German politics almost since the reunification of Germany
Sources in the party Merkel’s Christian democratic Union (CDU), still either explain what happened “aberration”, or talking about the unexpected mercy shown generally pragmatic Chancellor. Thoroughly reconstructed those days in his new book “Driven” journalist Robin Alexander writes about something else: in his opinion, in Germany at the time was a crisis of political will. Angela Merkel, who at the time was essentially closed on itself, the ideal German system of checks and balances, showed not just a strategic indecision, but a weakness, and as a result left alone, jeopardizing his huge political capital accumulated over the previous fifteen years. A year and a half after a tough September day, this threat has become even stronger.
The girl from “never been kissed club”
The most powerful woman in the world lives in an unassuming apartment building in peach color — passing, do not delay view. On corner duty pair of full-indifferent police; bystanders, no one will bother to press the call button beside the name of the husband of Angela Merkel, Professor of physical chemistry Joachim Sauer. Opposite the Museum island and the Pergamon Museum, it was now restored, working machinery, very noisy and dusty. To the place of its work, the Federal Chancellery, curved buildings of glass and concrete, is ten minutes on foot.
Even closer house, where Merkel lived in the early 1980s, when she was not yet thirty. In fact, the total circumstances of her life since then as if almost not changed. The same district of Berlin, also her husband is a scientist (the physicist, now a chemist); too difficult exhausting work in a gated facility, and predominantly male team (then — Academy of Sciences of the GDR). To work, however, in those years needed to get a little longer — half an hour by city train.
Every weekday in the early morning of the seventh, waiting for the train, Merkel bought a newspaper at the kiosk in the Friedrichstrasse. Preferred Soviet “Truth”: the effect obtained in the country of the Warsaw Pact education
Merkel was born in 1954 in Western Germany — in Hamburg, in the family of a Protestant priest and a teacher, but in neighbouring GDR lacked the Ministers of the Church, and father and his family soon moved on the other side vnutrikitayskoy border. In the GDR the pastor Horst Kasner made a successful career and was well established before the authorities, who without success tried to use the Church as one of the sources of legitimacy of the new state. Father Merkel, according to all sources, belonged to the regime is critical, but not in a hurry to quarrel with him — and some free-thinking he was saying goodbye.
The future Chancellor grew up in a wealthy, privileged by East German standards, the family which had two cars and the opportunity to travel to capitalist countries
However, the girl still was a bit shy of profession of father — as she later recalled, in response to the relevant issues she tried to pronounce the word “pastor” (“Pfarrer”) so that it can be taken for a “driver” (“Fahrer”). In General, childhood Merkel, which she conducted in the town of Templin in 70 kilometers from Berlin, was not extraordinary — she was a good student, loved The Beatles and the Impressionists, I entered the local pioneer organization, where he appreciated her responsibility and organizational skills.
Almost the only thing that attracts attention in its youth, — describes the Merkel habit to practice Russian language, which she taught at the school, chatting with Soviet soldiers in the local woods, where they “spent the day standing around waiting for something.” Taught Merkel the Russian language Eric Benn, still living in Templin, such episodes can’t remember — according to her, the Soviet tankisty, lyotchiki and regulirovshchiki (these words the teacher says in Russian), as a rule, did not leave their gorodki.
Anyway, cognition Merkel in Russian, according to Benn, was “excellent” and the girl regularly took the first places in the respective competitions
After school, where mocking classmates enrolled in “the club never been kissed”, Merkel entered the University of Leipzig faculty of physics; unlike other pastor’s kids, no problem getting called in such cases permission to enroll in the University she was a witness. She soon married a student of physics, whose name is still, and insisted on a Church marriage under the care of a father. Marriage it didn’t help that divorced Merkel with Merkel in less than five years, and married again only in 1998: Joachim Sauer they had been together for a dozen years and got married without a wedding and any ceremony.
After graduating from University, Merkel in 1979 and joined the Institute of physical chemistry of the East German Academy of Sciences and moved to Berlin
At school, she moved from the pioneer organization in the local Komsomol organization “Free German youth”. What is the role of a young researcher played in it — clearly not up to the end: the memoirs of former colleagues, Merkel was responsible for propaganda and agitation, but she never confirmed it, saying that was organized for colleagues cultural leisure. Anyway, until the next phase of his career in East Germany — the entry into the socialist party — Merkel never came. Her journey from Komsomolskaya Pravda one of the first persons the main anti-Communist party of Western Germany (CDU) took only about ten years.
The party in power
“When Angela Merkel was elected Chancellor from the CDU will remain only the ruins” — warned in 2012 a former member of the Presidium of the party, jörg Sanbom, endowing the German policy expression “culture of the titular nation”. Party conservatives and anti-Communists almost immediately felt that this woman that something is wrong — that it was not his own. Merkel turned out to be a member of the CDU almost by coincidence rather marginal and most of the left organization “Democratic breakthrough”, which she joined in 1989 on the General wave of change and disappointment to the old party structures, unexpectedly became the coalition partner of mainstream CDU, sought allies among the Democrats of new wave in the GDR.
Bidding coalition led 35-year-old Angela Merkel to the post of press Secretary of the last government of the GDR — and in 1991, when she izbrisati in the Bundestag, the then Chancellor Helmut Kohl unexpectedly appointed her Minister of women’s Affairs and youth
“We saw her as a protégé in the film, reasonably concludes one of the interlocutors of “Medusa”, the former Minister of internal Affairs of the German lands and a member of the CDU since 1974 (due to the nature of the current German policy almost no one in the CDU is not ready to speak frankly with the Russian media about Merkel under your name). — She had no political views, she dutifully followed in the Wake of the Chancellor. Otherwise to be and could not — such political heavyweights as Kohl, require unconditional loyalty.”
In the 1990s, after the fall of the Berlin wall and the Soviet Union, the Christian democratic Union from radical anti-Communist turned into a moderately conservative party, the main asset of which was successfully carried out the reunification of the country.
The conservative agenda of the CDU was not attacking, and defensive. We didn’t want to make the country more conservative; we wanted to leave everything as ethnically Haufler, entered the CDU in 2001 and elected a Deputy in the Hamburg Parliament
However, in 1998 it turned out that not all Germans are like this approach: Kohl, who ruled for 16 years, was re-elected and came to power, the social Democrats and “green” that until recently seemed inability of radicals. And after another year was a real disaster: revealed black accounting senior leadership of the CDU, secretly and without any registration (often just cash) taking millions in donations. In these circumstances, Merkel has already reached the status of General Secretary of the party and not involved in the sins of the old party, successfully advocated for the renewal and purification of the CDU and, in particular, publicly renounced Kohl refused to disclose the names of illegal party sponsors.
In the party, as now I remember its veterans, began “the anarchy” — and the winner in these troubled times was exactly Merkel, in 2000, led the CDU
The next five years — the time before his election as Chancellor — it is spent on strengthening internal party positions: the source of “Medusa” in the CDU, “she sidelined all strong figures from their environment”.
When in 2005, the CDU led by Merkel back into power, said nothing about that came to power the future leader of Europe. On a television talk show after the elections, the drunken leader of the social Democrats Gerhard Schroeder gave Merkel a real dressing down, demanding to leave the post of Chancellor for himself. Merkel said nothing — and at first it was hard to understand restraint or weakness: early years of the reign of the youngest Chancellor in history (at the time of taking office, she was 51 years old) was quite colorless. That all changed when the global financial crisis.
In 2008, Merkel became the leader of the country. A man who says: guys, all will be well, and all believe her. And she said it’s not from the rostrum, among the banners, and modestly standing at the microphone in the hallway of the Federal Chancellery. This is its lilandra Harkavehmaankatu Explorer “German wave”, a long time living in Germany
Together with his Finance Minister Merkel then prevented a panic, giving a state guarantee for deposits in German banks, and in the end, the crisis hardly affected Germany. The first term of Merkel (Chancellor in Germany is elected for 4 years) generally was marked urgent measures to support the economy. As a result, the traditional conservative agenda of the CDU has gradually faded into the background — and it soon became clear that to return it to Merkel and plans.
“If major reforms Merkel has offered other parties, the CDU never would have supported, says Haufler. — First, the abandonment of nuclear energy. Then the abolition of conscription. And all this by the hands of our own government! The third big shock — the release of billions of some of Greece. And the fourth mass migration, uncontrolled and chaotic. The conservative part of the party simply ceased to understand what is happening with the country.” According to Gurkov, it’s not a matter of ideology: the German Chancellor was just following the time requirements. “Earlier, the CDU was the party of conservative rural Germans. But this stratum is shrinking, people are moving to big cities, — the journalist says. — A large city with the image of former CDU did not win — we need to become more liberal and centrist”.
Despite the dissatisfaction of the party of Merkel’s CDU, it is the show to rescue the Greek economy has turned the German Chancellor in the new leader of Europe.
All this was forged in a series of summits on Greece. Merkel has managed to achieve a difficult compromise to rein in his party and forced the Greeks even with the “leftists” in the government to carry out the necessary reforms. She apparently thought it a matter of principle not to let her have some countries left the Eurozone. The tragedy is that “Brickset” — partly a reaction to the reception of refugees. To save Greece, Merkel lost for Europe Velikobritaniya Harkavehmaankatu Explorer “German wave”, a long time living in Germany
Foreign policy Merkel really quite clear: it fully corresponds to the interests of Germany, the preservation of a single political and economic space in Europe. To formulate the political platform of the Chancellor is much more difficult. Merkel’s critics argue that pragmatism and reliance on population-based surveys have replaced her beliefs. In any case, and the abandonment of nuclear energy and the abolition of conscription Merkel was easily abandoned the conservative values of the party in favor of the reforms enjoyed the support of the population.
In the end, in parallel so as leader of the CDU more and more distant from ordinary party members, most of them are not going to abandon the traditional values around Merkel began to gather a new electorate — conscious, political literate inhabitants of the cities, for which the CDU was the party of development and reform. The question of another term for Merkel could decide the dispute of these two groups.
The reasons for long-term success of Merkel, in General, is clear.
The Germans perceive her as a symbol of stable growth — not even stability, and stable growth. Solid, quiet growth. Hard-working, credible, reliable Chancellor. Not the Firebird. Not Fidel Castro. But, what is very important is one of the few leaders, which is absolutely not korrumpirovannosti Harkavehmaankatu Explorer “German wave”, a long time living in Germany
Until September 2015 even dissatisfied with Merkel’s conservatives opposed it quite quietly. That all changed with the refugees.
Nikolai Haufler has participated in private meetings between Merkel, with the young activists of the CDU. “When I first saw her, I thought she was better than all I know of politicians understands the process of political decision-making. It is able to process huge amount of information. I even thought that she must be bored, chat with most politicians: she’s just superior to them in intelligence, he says. But at our last meeting, in late 2016, when Merkel was talking about immigration policy, it seemed to me that it has ceased to be objective, she’s more open to the arguments that play into her hands. Perhaps it appeared around the filter, consisting of people telling her what she wants to hear.”
It was at that moment when a split within the party became a reality when the new right emerged from the “Alternative for Germany”, the CDU picked up a discarded, but not lost popularity slogans, the social Democrats for the first time after Gerhard schröder had a strong candidate in chancellors.
Ruthless populist and error Clinton
In the early 1990s, Martin Schulz, was not too successful 40-year-old mayor of a small town in the West of Germany and stood out is that unusual biography: alcoholic, 25 years, quit drinking, he got not only higher, but also secondary education. The main achievement in his political biography was a struggle to keep the city built a water Park (Schultz got his way, although the Park had not paid off).
However, in 1994, Schultz was elected to the European Parliament, where he managed to build one of the most impressive careers in the history of European bureaucracy — in 2012 he became its President
But five years later, in January 2017, the social Democrats unexpectedly put Schultz against Merkel in the September elections to the Bundestag (the Chancellor of Germany approved by the Parliament, but each party, in advance and publicly nominate its candidate for the post).
By this time the German social Democrats were going through hard times. They were affected by the General crisis of the “political center” — if the CDU has shifted to the left, it is included in the ruling coalition, the social Democrats, by contrast, has swung. Freed on the left flank place, has helped to strengthen the “Left”, established on the ruins of the socialist party of the GDR. In fact, the situation is a mirror repeating the situation in the CDU, except that the social Democrats did not have his Angela Merkel, and was a series of colorless candidates, none of whom could do nothing to oppose the Chancellor. Until he came Schultz.
“Due to the fact that Schultz is an outsider, he has no powerful enemies in the party, and he has a free hand, — says Nikolay Haufler. — In General, the social Democrats now crazy energy, Schultz is their hope and long-awaited Savior. For Merkel, many will vote out of rational calculation. For Schultz will vote with their heart.” Realizing that the image of the “man from Brussels” at all the European sympathies of the Germans — not the one on which you can collect political dividends, Schultz builds his electoral program in the form of “man of the people”, Governor of a small town who defied the Berlin bosses. The main theme of his speeches — justice.
Schultz is a dangerous opponent because he’s a ruthless populist. When he says, “I understand you, you live badly”, it touches the right strings in the hearts of Lydisolerede “Medusa” in the CDU
Appealing to the sense of justice, Schultz draws on his side, the faithful followers of Angela Merkel — including those of volunteers, people with a keen sense of justice, which in 2015 invested an incredible amount of strength and energy to help the refugees, softening the impact of the migration crisis. They are disappointed in the Chancellor, because, in the end, closing the border and securing agreement to limit migration with Turkey, Merkel in fact launched its humanistic policies in the opposite direction. On the other hand, opponents too open policy of the CDU in the spring of 2016 wondered if it still happened that prevented to fix the errors earlier — million refugees ago?
Merkel may repeat the mistake of Hillary Clinton: she, too, relied on progressive voters and missed the Outback
In Germany there is no trump and unpopular anti-European sentiments, but their conditional rednecks here too — and they can not come to the polls or prefer to “Alternative”. “The elections are still six months, and a lot can happen, gloomily says a source in the CDU. — I mean, a recap of events on Breitscheidplatz or nice. And who remained close to Merkel? Anyone but [Finance Minister] Wolfgang Schaeuble, and he was already 75 years old.”
This is almost not openly, but many in the CDU mind if Angela Merkel did not become Chancellor in September, and the party return to opposition. “The first thing will be to get rid of Merkel. Then return to a conservative agenda and thus end the “Alternative for Germany” — lists the source of “Medusa” the steps that the CDU will have to make if the September elections are lost.
The party will not be destroyed. There are new people. We are 8 years old will go into opposition during this time will win a large number of land elections, and one of the new chapters of the land will become a normal candidate canceranimals Haufler, entered the CDU in 2001 and elected a Deputy in the Hamburg Parliament
Andrey Gurkov thinks that in case of defeat, Merkel will immediately resign from the post of party leader — but will continue to be an important German figure in the international scale. Merkel herself when she was younger, dreamed of a much more peaceful age.
I dreamed that when I turn 60, I will retire, will leave to West Germany, will change your passport the same day buy a ticket to USA and go freely surf Amanicangel Merkel
Now Angela Merkel is 62 years old, and she’s the most powerful woman on Earth. Merkel lives in an apartment building, peach in colour with a view of the Museum — and she seems completely alone.
Dmitry Vicadin, Berlin