When Angela Merkel took to the European stage in December 2005, the British Prime Minister and the French President were crossed.

Tony Blair wanted to cut agricultural spending, Jacques Chirac the British rebate;

it was about EU spending for seven years.

The dispute had paralyzed the Union for a long time.

Merkel, who had not been in the Chancellery for a month, ended it.

The British had to share fully in the costs of the EU enlargement, in return an agrarian reform was codified.

And Germany then waived one hundred million euros in favor of Poland.

Merkel spoke of a "signal of hope for European development".

Thomas Gutschker

Political correspondent for the European Union, NATO and the Benelux countries based in Brussels.

  • Follow I follow

Sixteen years, three French Presidents and four British Prime Ministers later, Angela Merkel will leave the European stage again.

When exactly is not in your hands.

In any case, she still has two European Councils ahead of her, an informal one in two weeks in Slovenia, and a formal one in four weeks in Brussels.

It should then be duly recognized and adopted - it may be possible to see her again afterwards, if the formation of a coalition drags on.

But the turning point will come, which is causing some unrest in Brussels.

Merkel held the European Union together in its most difficult hours, she made all the saving compromises.

Who will do that when the Chancellor is gone?

Compromises, but with character and strength

He will miss Merkel personally, but Europe will also miss her - as Xavier Bettel, the Luxembourg Prime Minister, recently said. He described her special achievement as follows: “Angela Merkel was a person who always tried to find compromises, but with character, with strength, with deliberation and not: I'm German, I'll tell you how it's going now.” Of course he knows said Bettel, about the size difference between his country and the neighbor, nevertheless Merkel listened to everyone, no matter which country. Of course, she did not shy away from telling the assembled group of bosses in the face that “we are totally lost”. When Jean-Claude Juncker, Bettel's predecessor, talked about Helmut Kohl, it sounded very similar. After becoming Chancellor in 1982, Kohl hadVisited the Grand Duchy immediately and always had an ear for the "little ones".

The European Union that Merkel had to deal with was larger and more complicated than in Kohl's time.

When she took office, it already consisted of 25 states, after enlargement in packs of ten.

Three more countries were added, one went - the United Kingdom.

Leading this union was more difficult;

Brexit is proof of that.

As hard as the struggle, the Chancellor never fell out with any of her colleagues.

She didn't shout either.

Keywords: