Don't you know that too?

That one inevitably begins to compare when a new era is looming?

What do I have to prepare for?

Where are the continuities, where are the breaks?

Is it getting better, is it getting worse?

Many Germans also ask these questions before federal elections, and especially before this one: After 16 years, the era of Angela Merkel ends in autumn - and when I observed the Chancellor again in her natural habitat in the last few days, she was still the most powerful Woman of Europe at the G-7 summit in Cornwall and then at NATO in Brussels, I too caught myself thinking:

Oliver Georgi

Deputy Editor in Charge of News and Politics Online.

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    What will such summits look like from next year?

    In the future, who will have to spend nights negotiating, making pacts for Germany and Europe, and having to assert themselves against heads of state and autocrats whose demeanor is still cautiously described as “robust”?

    Armin Laschet?

    Olaf Scholz?

    Or maybe Annalena Baerbock from the Greens, who tried with a “mea culpa” at the party congress at the weekend to make people forget the mistakes about additional income and curriculum vitae and to rekindle the passion that had seized her supporters after her free choice to become chancellor candidate?

    The bar is pretty high

    For 16 long years, Merkel had a decisive influence on Germany - also on the international political stage. So it is quite normal that the idea that someone other than an East German pastor's daughter from the Uckermark can negotiate the crises of this world with Putin, Erdogan, Xi Jinping or the American President is initially confused: the bar is simply quite high.

    However, Angela Merkel did not come to the Chancellery as an internationally respected crisis manager and "most powerful woman in the world" (Forbes Magazine). On the contrary: when the era of Helmut Kohl ended almost 23 years ago and a young minister from his cabinet was elected CDU general secretary and almost two years later CDU chairwoman, many asked themselves whether Merkel could even do it - herself as To claim to be a woman among so many power-conscious alpha animals.

    But as soon as Merkel ousted male competitors from Roland Koch to Norbert Röttgen to Friedrich Merz from the first and second rows in the years that followed, it became clear that this East German was more than just a political flash in the pan. And at the latest when, as Chancellor, she showed herself to be a tough, assertive European crisis manager, even those doubters who would never have trusted her to do this grudgingly understood: She wants it - and she can do it too.