Angela Merkel is without doubt the most effective leader in Europe. A woman who came from East Germany, emanating so to speak from nowhere in particular, rose to prominence in a low key fashion to become the chancellor of a united Germany and to turn the country into the most prosperous in Europe. Her record in office is truly remarkable, as she now seeks a fourth term as chancellor in next month’s elections.
Germany achieved a near record budget surplus of Euro18.3 billion in the first half of 2017 according to government figures released last Friday. The timing of the figures could not be better for her at this crucial time as they are likely to boost her chances to win again the confidence of the German people, to lead them as usual with what one calls ‘a safe pair of hands’.
What better omen could she have expected? The surplus is the second largest recorded since reunification in 1990. It recorded an even bigger surplus of Euro28.8 billion in the second half of 2000, but that was boosted by a windfall from the sale of mobile phone licences. By contrast, the surplus for the first half of 2017 was fuelled by higher tax revenues than expected, as the German economy continued to perform strongly. Unemployment fell to 3.8% in June, when measured by the same International Labour Organization criteria, used in the UK. High government spending on housing and integration for more than one million asylum seekers arriving in Germany since 2015 is also believed to have driven the strong figures.
Germany’s economic resurgence after the Second World War is a lesson for us all. And Mrs Merkel is a shining example to other politicians worldwide how restrained politics can work miracles.
If only Donald Trump were to follow her example, keep his mouth shut, refrain from voicing his vocabulary of platitudes through the internet and behave in a manner worthy of his office then the world would be a better place to confront the kind of political turmoil that has become rampant in most part of our universe.
Is it an impossible dream or am I hallucinating? The omens are frightfully incandescent.