Home » World News » 5 things you need to know about Angela Merkel, Time's 'Person of the Year'

5 things you need to know about Angela Merkel, Time's 'Person of the Year'

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 12:37 IST
  • Merkel has inspired legions of fans worldwide. The way she handled the refugee crisis and welcomed victims of war is exemplary.
  • Races past Indian PM Narendra Modi and a rather doubtful Donald Trump to the top spot.

As her leadership has helped preserve and promote an open, borderless Europe in the face of economic turmoil and refugee crisis, Time magazine on Wednesday named German Chancellor Angela Merkel its "Person of the Year 2015."

Hailing her leadership, the magazine said it chose the German Chancellor for the annual honour because her leadership has helped preserve and promote an open, borderless Europe in the face of economic turmoil and an ongoing refugee crisis.

Below are some key facts about Angela Merkel:

1. Angela Merkel is Europe's longest-serving elected woman leader. And the first woman to win TIME's Person of the Year in almost three decades. And the fourth woman to be bestowed that title ever.

She's still nowhere near unelected British Queen Elizabeth's time in power, but has led Germany since being elected as the country's first woman chancellor in 2005.

2. Merkel is the only Western leader who has any real influence over Russian president Vladimir Putin

Merkel speaks fluent Russian and refuses to be cowed down by Putin's scare tactics, including the time he let his imposing black dog into a meeting with Merkel a few years ago knowing that Merkel is terrified by dogs. "I understand why he has to do this, to prove he's a man," Merkel said.

She apparently does great impressions of Putin and a few other world leaders including former French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Pope Benedict XVI, and even former US vice president Al Gore

3. Chancellor of Europe

Germany is an economic juggernaut thanks to Merkel's policies. The EU has looked toward her while most of Europe has stagnated, leading her biographers to call her "the Chancellor of Europe".

4. Mama Merkel

Various opinion leaders around the world may describe her as cold and calculating at times, but the air of reassuring stability around her has earned her the nickname 'Mutti' or 'mom' at home.

Now, even amid turbulence over her welcoming attitude toward refugees, she earned a new nickname from refugees: "Mama Merkel".

5. Merkel is an anomaly when it comes to German leaders: she's a woman (divorced, remarried, no children), a scientist, and a product of East Germany.

How shocking would that have been to Adolf Hitler? A recent satire film called Look Who's Back questioned exactly that.

To find that modern-day Berlin was not occupied by soldiers but instead by a vibrant, multicultural citizenry would be the ultimate middle-finger salute to him.

That's the power of Merkel.

Also read: Angela Merkel named 'Person of the Year' by Time magazine. First woman in 29 years to reach the top spot

First published: 10 December 2015, 11:55 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.