GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel has been named Person of the Year by Time Magazine, the first individual woman since 1986, as the challenges facing Europe continue to intensify.
After the announcement on December 9, she became only the fourth ever woman to receive the award, as editor’s cited her leadership over the Greek debt crisis and encouragement of more open border policies over the refugee crisis engulfing the continent.
The magazine, which has published its Person (or Man) of the Year since 1927, described her leadership style as “resolutely dull” but said she had excelled herself in a year of crisis and deadlock which, already by the beginning of 2015, had seen her emerge as the “indispensable player in managing Europe’s serial debt crises”. Judges considered that she “also led the West’s response to Vladimir Putin’s creeping theft of Ukraine”.
“But now the prospect of Greek bankruptcy threatened the very existence of the Eurozone. The migrant and refugee crisis challenged the principle of open borders. And finally, the carnage in Paris revived the reflex to slam doors, build walls and trust no one.”
Among the other finalists were Uber founder Travis Kalanick, Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
2016 is shaping up to be an even more difficult year for Europe and the “Chancellor of the free world” with a broader shift away from the centre-ground Merkel has assiduously protected taking place to the east and west, while even her own Christian Democratic Union wants to propose a quota system for refugees.