Is Merkel the EU’s Real Leader?
The short answer is yes—by default and by virtue of Germany’s economic and political power on the continent. The chancellor’s relative prominence is, above all, the result of growing leadership “demand.” This demand has been most obvious in navigating the twin shoals of feeble economic growth and faltering cohesion in the eurozone.
But the results of this year’s European Parliament elections and pending decisions on key positions in Brussels are also placing the role of Germany and Chancellor Angela Merkel in sharp relief. A resolution of the current political crisis is unthinkable without German initiative, even if the “supply” side of the leadership equation disappoints those seeking a more vigorous, charismatic defense of the European project.
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Ian Lesser is the Executive Director of GMF’s Brussels Office.