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Merkel’s Complicated Legacy

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to step aside after 16 years in office, Germany, Europe, and the world are entering a new, more uncertain phase – one that will be significantly shaped by her legacy. But which one?


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Elmira Bayrasli: Welcome to Opinion Has It. I’m Elmira Bayrasli.

Cautious, trustworthy, powerful, pragmatic, and seemingly always in control. This is the Angela Merkel the world has seen over the last 16 years. As German Chancellor, Merkel has been a pillar of Europe and the world order.

Archive Recording: The New York Times, The Guardian, [and] The Economist all described the chancellor as the last remaining world leader of stature to defend “the West’s liberal values.”

Archive Recording: In power for over a decade, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is widely seen as a rock of stability, respected abroad and supported at home.

Archive Recording: She has been at the epicenter of multiple crises and problems in the world, which she has tackled against the grain of public opinion, both in Germany and in the rest of Europe.

EB: But Merkel’s record is hardly uncontroversial.

Archive Recording: Angela Merkel’s visit to Greece is expected to stir up widespread resentment, with fears of large-scale violence.