Cinderella became the Empress
Angela Merkel is the first woman to climb to the top of German politics. Step by step, to the surprise of her male rivals inside the party, she took over the leadership on the political scene of Germany, and then of the European Union. Efficiency was the leitmotif of her four terms. As a technocrat with a social ear, she turned out to be a master in dominating the political centre. Because of her, Germany’s Christian Democrats underwent an ideological evolution. She also greatly contributed to a significant weakening of the SPD and to the creation of the Eurosceptic and anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany. For an aging and wealthy German society, she was the embodiment of stability and predictability. Her rule, overshadowed by the global economic crisis, provided the citizens of Germany with what is most valuable: prosperity and security. Despite her successes in defending the German status quo, Merkel did not prepare the state and society for the inevitable changes in the international environment. The growing inequalities in the eurozone, the successes of political populism, migrations, the destructive policies of Russia and China, the backlog in the digitisation of education and industry will be described as phenomena and processes with which her governments largely failed.