How the refugee crisis created two myths of Angela Merkel | Daniel Trilling

Tue, 21 Sep 2021 08:00:35 GMT 9

How the refugee crisis created two myths of Angela Merkel | Daniel Trilling


The right says the German chancellor undermined EU security; Liberals say it was a triumph. But her legacy is far more mixed

When Angela Merkel steps down as chancellor after Germany’s elections later this month, the tributes will centre on her role as the figurehead of western liberalism; an island of stability, caution and openness in an era marked by turbulence and far-right reaction. She will be remembered “for serious work, stable leadership and having a gift for political compromise”, wrote Ishaan Tharoor in the Washington Post last week. When she faced off against Donald Trump after his inauguration in 2017, some newspapers dubbed her the new “leader of the free world”.

Fundamental to this image is the intervention she made in late summer 2015, at the height of Europe’s refugee crisis. “Wir schaffen das” – we’ll manage this – was Merkel’s public statement as thousands of people, mainly from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, were making their way through Turkey, Greece and the Balkans to western Europe. By declaring Germany – and, by extension, Europe – open to refugees, she was making a bold, pragmatic statement of intent.

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Source link for full text: https://www.theguardian.com/world/commentisfree/2021/sep/21/refugee-crisis-two-myths-angela-merkel


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