Has Merkel’s Power Peaked?

Almut Möller

European Council on Foreign Relations

Almut Möller is a political scientist and currently a senior policy fellow and head of the European Council on Foreign Relations’ (ECFR) Berlin office. She has published widely on European affairs, foreign and security policy, and Germany’s role in the EU, and is a frequent commentator in the international media. Almut started her career in the think tank world at the Centre for Applied Policy Research at LMU University in Munich (1999-2008), where she focused on EU institutions and reform, and later on EU foreign policy. She then worked as an independent political analyst in London, focusing on EU-Middle East relations (2008-2010). Before joining ECFR she led the Europe program at the German Council on Foreign Relations/DGAP (2010-2015). Research fellowships have taken her to Renmin University of China in Beijing, the Al Ahram Center for Political and Security Studies in Cairo and the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C., where she continues to engage as a non-resident fellow. Almut is a member of the extended board of Women in International Security (WIIS.de) and a member of the 14th Advisory Board “Innere Führung” of the German Federal Ministry of Defense.

She is a 2016-2017 participant in AICGS’ project “A German-American Dialogue of the Next Generation: Global Responsibility, Joint Engagement,” sponsored by the Transatlantik-Programm der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus Mitteln des European Recovery Program (ERP) des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).

Angela Merkel is under pressure. For many years she has been a rock at Brussels’ conference tables dominated by sobering discussions on the economic and social outlook of EU member states, and the German chancellor has become ever stronger both at home and abroad. While many leaders felt the impact of the economic crisis in elections back home, Merkel only seemed to be gaining in support and confidence. At the height of her success in 2013, she won her party an impressive victory in the federal elections, ultimately turning into the unchallenged face and leader of her Christian Democratic party (CDU), and of German power in Europe. The Kanzlerin (chancellor) earned respect from both her admirers and critics by taking the lead on Europe’s most pressing challenges, i.e. the future of the European Union and Russia’s threat to European security. Handling negotiations on the euro zone crisis and the annexation of Crimea have strengthened her – but dealing with a third fundamental test to Europeans, and indeed Germany, within less than a decade might turn out to be too much, even for Angela Merkel.  Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on the European Council On Foreign Relations website on October 8, 2015.

Almut Möller is Head of ECFR Berlin Office and Senior Policy Fellow and an AGI Non-Resident Fellow.


The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.