Germany's Angela Merkel deserves great praise for her leadership, argues Andreas Kluth of Bloomberg. Not without faults, she crucially helped Europe overcome several crises, from economic ones to those involving refugees. Many of these, such as Russia's aggression in Ukraine, could have turned into much larger disasters without her oversight. She kept the EU together, whether to bail out flailing members during the Euro crisis or to impose sanctions on Russia. Among a global rise in nationalism and xenophobia, she stood for international values of cooperation and understanding. Merkel provided stability, without which, we might have faced far darker days.
Angela Merkel's reign as Germany Chancellor left much to be desired, believes Peter Franklin of UnHerd. During the European financial crisis, she took part in imposing harsh austerity measures on Europe's south, which bred great resentment and anti-EU attitudes. Amidst the refugee crisis, her initial decision to keep Germany's borders open and then close them suddenly created huge political tension and encouraged smugglers. When confronting Russia or China, Merkel often made grand statements, only to seek big trade relationships with both. Merkel had many opportunities and much influence but failed to take her country and the EU to the next level of unity, strength and prosperity.