Who Is Angela Merkel?

Current Events, Exploring HeinOnline, Law Journal Library, U.S. Congressional Documents
Shannon Sabo

Last week, Time Magazine named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its 2015 Person of the Year. The annual Person of Year issue of Time profiles a person, group, idea, or object that "for better or for worse … has done the most to influence the events of the year."

Angela Merkel is Germany's first female Chancellor, and only the fourth woman since 1927 to receive the Person of the Year designation. What is unique about her leadership and how did she best seven other finalists, including ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Caitlyn Jenner? Time editor Nancy Gibbs wrote:

"For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is 'Time's Person of the Year."

According to this CNN article, Merkel, the "de facto leader of the European Union by virtue of being leader of the EU's largest and most powerful member state," successfully addressed two major crises in 2015: the Greek debt crisis, which threatened the power and value of the Euro, and the ongoing migrant crisis. Merkel agreed to a Greek bailout plan, but made it contingent upon strict fiscal discipline of members of the European Union. U.S. President Barack Obama has praised Merkel's stand on refugees as "courageous"; Obama's security adviser Susan Rice stated, "She has demonstrated particularly bold moral and practical leadership on the refugee crisis, welcoming vulnerable migrants despite the political costs."

Merkel was elected Chancellor in 2005, and has since been re-elected twice. Prior to becoming Chancellor, Merkel was the first female chairperson of the Christian Democratic Union. She grew up in a rural area north of Berlin, and studied physics at the University of Leipzig, where she earned a doctorate in 1978. She worked as a chemist at the Central Institute for Physical Chemistry, Academy of Sciences from 1978 until she entered politics after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.

Merkel has a reputation for having a thorough, analytical approach to politics. She generally adheres to public opinion, and as a result, maintains high public approval ratings. In 2008, she received the Charlemagne Prize, "the Citizens' Prize for Services to European Unity."

Search results for "Angela Merkel" in HeinOnline include this article from International Journal, which contains excellent background and biographical information on the Chancellor, and describes her ascension to the position. She is also frequently mentioned in Public Papers of the Presidents, including this news conference from 2009. This CRS Report discusses the Greek debt and Eurozone political crises in detail.

For more information on this topic, perform a search for "refugee crisis" OR "migrant crisis" in the U.S. Congressional Documents collection using the collection's main search bar. Results will include hearings, CRS Reports, and more. Use the facets on the left side of the screen to refine your results:

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