Front page – Merkel at last
The survey we carried out among our readership to identify which personality in the realm of politics or economics had most influenced international events in 2015 singled out Angela Merkel (over 40% of votes), followed by the ‘Syrian refugee’ (32%) and Pope Francis, Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi with 8% each.
This choice was not entirely based on the outcome of the survey but took into account Merkel’s decision to open her arms to the refugees, effectively turning the tables on a previous European approach that increasingly smacked of racism and was prevailingly backed by populist and irresponsible leaders, something we had pointed out in the previous issue. So the results of the poll are easily explained, seeing as it was conducted just as the chancellor was opening her borders, surprising everyone, even those in our newsroom, who for some time had been calling on her to make her mark as a true European leader.
Finally, the ‘woman from the East’ has thrown her usual caution to the wind and her tendency to court the baser instincts of the average German voter, catching many of them off-guard yet sparking the admiration of Europe as a whole (something we had always been hoping for) and of a large section of her electorate, probably the smarter ones among them.