End to Mrs. Chancellor

TEHRAN, Jul. 24 (MNA) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is approaching the end of her power in Berlin and the European Union. Another less commonplace in the European Union and the eurozone is Merkel as the most powerful politician in this collection!

What is certain is that today many analysts of European issues feel at risk as to what is happening in the political and executive equations of Europe. The removal of Angela Merkel from European political equations does not have a good meaning for the survivors of this collection. A review of the latest analyzes on the status of German Chancellor can provide us with a clear picture of today's Europe:
 

What the departure of Angela Merkel could mean for Europe

As Christine Keilholz wrote in “Open Canada”, Angela Merkel has repeatedly said she wants to remain chancellor of Germany until 2021, when the next Bundestag will be elected. But what if she does not?Speculation of a possible Merkel exit has been spreading in recent weeks. Merkel’s party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has scheduled a meeting of its top officials to take place shortly after the European Parliament elections, which run May 23-26. There’s a lot to talk about for Germany’s ruling party. In the polls, it has slipped below 30 percent, and the elections may not turn out well for the CDU. Could Merkel resign sooner than we thought?

The 64-year-old German chancellor has become the face of the European Union, as the French are busy with social protests that have been raging for months and the United Kingdom is struggling to negotiate its leave of the group.When Merkel resigned as her party leader last fall, many around the world were alarmed. She announced then that she would not run again in the next elections in 2021. This was the first clear date for the end of the Merkel era.

Since then, lamentations have been sung of this “historical giant,” as an Italian paper called her, even by those who take issue with a strong Germany in the middle of the EU. France’s President Emmanuel Macron, for example, said he is worried about losing a companion against right-wing forces coming up all over the continent. Merkel’s withdrawal — be it in coming months or in 2021 — doesn’t mean the lights go out in Europe, however. Instead, her departure opens the door for a rebirth of the union as a more democratic community of countries. The pastor's daughter from East Germany is admired for her calm, reliability and ability to execute informed decisions. But she also represents the kind of Europe that many Europeans are tired of — the kind in which the leaders of the powerful member states, especially Merkel, make decisions in informal meetings, often bypassing the elected European Parliament.

Chief of the most populous member country and largest economy, Merkel has acquired an image as a preserver of stability. Being in office since 2005, longer than any other major world leader, makes her seem like a rare stoic motherly figure in politics. Here’s someone who knows everyone in Europe, and all the tricks of how to negotiate at a European level as well. Merkel’s reputation as a problem-solver comes from all the challenges European states have faced since she became chancellor nearly 14 years ago. The 2008 financial crisis spawned into a crisis over Greece in 2010 and resulted in bailouts, where much money was distributed in informal sessions by the heads of the Eurozone members. The Germans had the money the Greeks needed badly, so it was Merkel’s task to form an alliance of donors. Quick decisions were needed, for which the EU Parliament and Commission seemed too cumbersome.

During the geopolitical conflict over Ukraine, which began in 2013, happenings in Berlin and Paris were considered more significant than those in Brussels, revealing friction between members over their approach to Russia.
A decisive turning point in Merkel’s term of office was the European refugee crisis, which revealed cracks in the union. When Merkel let refugees from Budapest come to Germany in September 2015, it was interpreted by some countries as a gesture of humanity given on behalf of the other 27 partner countries. Other countries took it as a coercive measure by which powerful Germany made them susceptible to unwelcome immigration.

It was in fact Merkel’s attempt to recognize and adhere to a Europe without internal borders. Many of the EU’s current problems are related to migration. Effective protection of Europe’s external borders has failed until now due to lack of cooperation between the 28 club members. Resentment over immigration was considered to be a factor in the Brexit vote in 2016. It is also the cause of a split between Western and Eastern Europe, where new member states — especially those coming from behind the Iron Curtain, like Hungary and Poland — still dream of ethnically pure societies without immigrants. But even in Germany, many don’t understand Merkel’s refugee strategy and have caused her party painful electoral losses.

The 2016 deal with Turkey was meant to cut off refugee flightlines in return for money from the EU. The deal did diminished the stream drastically but this highly controversial agreement left in the general population’s memory images, taken in 2015, of Merkel and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the autocratic president of Turkey, sitting next to each other on golden thrones. Divisions aside, Merkel has undoubtedly changed the appearance of the EU. Before her, pictures of European leaders showed groups of men in black suits. With her came a woman wearing a colored blazer, standing in the middle, smiling. Outward appearance aside, her approach to governance has also been different from other European leaders. “All the governments she has led were pro-European,” Peter Becker, from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, told OpenCanada. Her pro-European policies were “not about hollowing out, weakening or splitting the Union.”

In Germany, Merkel, with her unboastful style of governance, has softened the image of the bureaucratic monster in Brussels. Her worldwide popularity is far higher than any other leader’s. A 2018 survey by the Pew Research Institute in 25 countries revealed that 52 percent of people questioned have confidence in her — twice as much as the percentage of those who have confidence in US President Donald Trump. Who else could stand up against Trump in a world where the US is breaking out of the Western phalanx?

However, her popularity does not make Europeans feel less uneasy about the cracks in the EU architecture. And Merkel may never have had a strong vision of where Europe could go in the future. “In recent years, not a single significant European policy initiative has emanated from her,” political scientist Edgar Grande told OpenCanada.

Dealing with the imperfect system the EU has turned out to be is something she has been good at. But that won’t be enough for the future of the union. Something has to change — Europe must make it clear to its citizens what unity is good for, and it must give them the opportunity to have a say. Merkel’s withdrawal may be a suitable opportunity for that kind of change.

France’s Macron realized this when Merkel did not reply directly his big European reform proposal in March. He appears to be committed to making the EU a powerful representation for all who are opposed to climate change, immigration and the power of internet corporations. Yet Merkel let the opportunity pass. It was another sign that, although her withdrawal will undoubtedly be a turning point for the EU, it may not be a tragedy, despite all the lamentations. Merkel's shaking sends world's media into a frenzy. It could mark a new start for Germany

As CNN reported, The world's media got into a frenzy on Thursday. "Merkel seen shaking uncontrollably for a second time," reported The Sun, a British tabloid newspaper.

Such stories might not be surprising in a paper that, since the refugee crisis in 2015, has wasted few opportunities to predict impending doom for Angela Merkel, Germany's Chancellor and Europe's most powerful politician.Only this time, they were joined by more even-handed media outlets."She is fine," was the official message from 1 Willy-Brandt-Strasse, the official address of the German chancellor, and the equivalent of the White House. Yet, there was silence from Merkel's official spokesperson Stefan Seibert. Indeed, his Twitter account only reported that Merkel had been present at the swearing-in of the new minister of justice Christine Lambrecht. But he did not report what happened at the ceremony. Perhaps because it was here that she was shaking.

The footage shows Merkel standing next to the new minister and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Suddenly, while the president spoke, Merkel started shaking. Not, to be fair, "uncontrollably," as some suggested. But she was visibly unwell as she held her arms tightly across her body. She was given a glass of water, but she did not drink it.

Such incidents would be newsworthy on any day. What makes the matter even more alarming is that Merkel suffered a similar episode of the shakes when she met the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this month. That incident was blamed on the warm weather and Merkel said she'd not been drinking enough water. Her spokesperson's failure to mention the incident and the fact that it came only a week after a similar episode, needless to say, is a cause for concern. Aged 64, Merkel is still relatively young. But working long days for 14 years (she became chancellor in 2005) is not healthy for anyone.

That the most powerful female politician in democratic history is unwell at a time of crisis is a cause for concern. And her ailment could not come at a worse time. If she is indeed ill, Germany, and hence the rest of Europe, is facing a crisis at a very inopportune moment. Or so it is said.

The hope in Germany was that Merkel would remain as Kanzlerin until the next federal election in 2022. But her own party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has suffered calamitously low poll ratings; at 25% they are neck-and-neck with the Green Party. Moreover, Merkel's coalition partner, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), is suffering even more catastrophic poll ratings. At 12% the party is only marginally ahead of the far-right AfD Party.

If Merkel were to step down due to illness, her designated successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (known as AKK) cannot be certain of taking over as Bundeskanzlerin. But neither the SPD nor the CDU (and its sister party CSU) are interested in elections. So, what happens?

According to conventional wisdom, there are two scenarios: either Merkel recovers and serves out her term or AKK takes over as leader of the CDU-SPD coalition. But neither of these seem plausible in the light of Merkel's illness, nor in the light of the poor showing for the CDU at the European Parliamentary elections.

Another possibility is that Merkel steps down and the AKK forms a coalition government with the Green Party and the free-market Free Democrats. Such a coalition currently exists in the state of Schleswig-Holstein, where the Green Party Leader Robert Habeck is deputy Premier. This coalition would have a majority in the Bundestag and would enjoy popular support. Hence, Merkel's potential illness might lead to a more stable government. German politics is shaken by rumors of the Chancellor's health, but it is not stirred.
 

What is the cause of Angela Merkel’s shaking fits?

Also, The Week reported that Angela Merkel’s health is back in the spotlight after the German chancellor was seen shaking during a public appearance for the third time in as many weeks. Merkel, who turns 65 next week, appeared to tremble uncontrollably as she stood with Finnish Prime Minister Antti Rinne during military honors in Berlin to mark his visit.

The chancellor was able to regain her composure after “an extended period of time”, says German newspaper Deutsche Welle, which claims that “Wednesday’s incident was not as severe as the prior cases”.Last month, Merkel was filmed “gripping her arms as her body was shaking” while attending an event with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, CNN reports. At one point, she was offered a glass of water, which she rejected before the shaking subsided after several minutes.

The Daily Telegraph notes that the German leader was first seen shaking during a similar incident eight days earlier, on 18 June, when she was caught on film “desperately trying to maintain composure as she shook from head to foot” at reception for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the German capital. Merkel later claimed her shakes were the result of dehydration after standing in the hot sun throughout the ceremony and said she had felt better after drinking water.

No explanation has been given for the more recent incident. At a press conference alongside PM Rinne, the German leader insisted simply that she was “fine,” reports Sky News.“People don’t need to worry about me,” Merkel said, adding that she is still in a “processing phase” after her first shaking spell mid-June. “This is apparently not yet completely finished, but progress has been made.”

German media has noted that the chancellor is “always accompanied on major international trips by a doctor”, says The Local.

Merkel experienced a similar onset of trembling in 2017 while in Mexico City for a state visit. And in 2014, she postponed a television interview at the last minute amid reports that she was feeling weak and faint. Some sources have speculated that she may be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, a condition that usually causes uncontrollable tremors. However, the BBC reports that “leading Bavarian GP” Jakob Berger has cast doubt on that theory, saying her trembling had been more pronounced than is typical with Parkinson’s. Fellow specialist Dr. Christoph Specht argues that the chancellor may have contracted an infection, as “shivering indicated an infection that was flaring up again”, the broadcaster adds.

Meanwhile, GP and medical nutritionist Dr. Sarah Brewer told the Daily Mail that the shaking might be caused by an overactive thyroid, which is ten times more common among women than men. The shaking might also a side effect of medication, Brewer added. However, other medical experts say the shaking could be connected to an emotional trigger. The Times’ medical correspondent, Dr. Mark Porter, points to “essential tremor”, a neurological disorder. 

“Essential tremor often starts in the arms and maybe intermittent at first, typically gradually spreading to other parts of the body including the head and tongue,” Porter writes.“The shaking is generally aggravated by stress, embarrassment, anger, fatigue, and hunger, and relieved by sleep and alcohol.” In the past, Merkel has joked that she could manage for days on just a few hours of sleep as long as she had a decent rest at the weekend, calling herself a “sleep camel”.

MNA/TT

News Code 148047

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