As Angela Merkel became chancellor in 2005, some of her G7 colleagues were George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Jacques Chirac and Silvio Berlusconi. Eleven years later in 2016 during President Obama’s last year, many of her G7 colleagues were also about to lose office, including David Cameron, François Hollande and Matteo Renzi (see picture). And although this is her last year in office, she again was at the G7 discussion table with a new array of colleagues discussing China, climate change and the Western alliance.
She leaves office highly popular in Germany and as the most respected leader in the world. Merkel has had many outstanding moments, but actions, such as working hard to maintain EU unity, helping southern Europe in the Great Recession and welcoming immigrants during the crisis of 2015, were the most memorable.
An incredible record. As former President Bush just said, “she had character,” and we’ve become much more aware of how important that is.