It’s complicated: Angela Merkel leaves an enigmatic legacy

World

It’s complicated: Angela Merkel leaves an enigmatic legacy

Her steady leadership and longevity will be missed, but she also leaves behind a series of vexing problems

Chris Reiter, Arne Delfs and Patrick Donahue

Few thought that the young woman from East Germany who Helmut Kohl dismissively called his “girl” in the 1990s would go far. And yet after 16 years and 16 days, Angela Merkel exits the stage just shy of his record as the country’s longest-serving chancellor since World War 2. 

While her former mentor — whom she famously and opportunistically brushed aside — will be forever known as the father of reunification, the scientist who went on to become the nation’s “Mutti” (German for mom), leaves behind a more complicated legacy.

She fell short in bringing about the transformative change Germany needs for the challenges it now faces. The economic powerhouse she inherited has fallen behind in technology, failed to anticipate the threat China would pose to its manufacturers, or the need to wean its renowned carmakers off diesel sooner. Her track record during the pandemic is mixed.  ..

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