Angela Merkel se presenta al mundo

Por fin, Angela Merkel es la nueva --y primera mujer-- Canciller de Alemania. Aunque la continuidad seguirá siendo la marca distintiva de la política exterior, la actuación internacional de Alemania bajo Merkel sonará y se sentirá distinta a la que estuvo bajo el liderazgo de Gerhard Schroeder.

Schroeder llegó al poder hace siete años y representaba a una nueva generación cuyas experiencias formativas no fueron la Guerra Fría, la integración europea y la amistad transatlántica, sino la unificación alemana y el restablecimiento de la soberanía nacional. Para él y el equipo que llegó después de la administración de 16 años de Helmut Kohl, Alemania se había convertido en un país normal, igual a los demás pesos completos europeos como Francia e Inglaterra.

En efecto, una de las primeras experiencias de política exterior de Schroeder fue la cumbre de la UE de 1999, en la que los líderes de Francia e Inglaterra jugaron brusco con el recién llegado de Berlín. La lección que Schroeder aprendió fue que ya no se podía dar por descontada a Alemania y que tenía que exigir un papel acorde con su tamaño y su peso. La autoafirmación se convirtió en la palabre clave de la política exterior alemana.

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