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Is Angela Merkel the new Iron Lady of Europe?

By Tim Montgomerie

Screen shot 2010-10-31 at 11.48.19 On ToryDiary yesterday Jonathan Isaby noted the unhappiness of British newspapers at David Cameron's failure to get a budget freeze at the latest EU summit. The Sunday press is full of reports of waste in the EU budget and anger at the fact UK taxpayers will be sending even more money Brussels-wards.

Meeting at Chequers this weekend, Mrs Merkel might be able to give our Prime Minister some advice on successful negotiating. The German press (blogs Open Europe) is giving the German Chancellor glowing headlines for her successful push for an amendment to EU Treaties. The amendment would punish fiscally irresponsible €urozone members:

“Merkel wins at Euro-Poker” - FT Deutschland

“Merkel asserts her will in Brussels” - Die Welt

“Europe comes up against the Iron Chancellor” - Spiegel

The Economist is equally impressed with the CDU leader, declaring "Game, set and match to Angela":

"I am on the whole quite satisfied with the decision.” With these modest words, Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, rounded off a remarkable victory at the end of a bruising European summit... Less than a fortnight ago, members of the European Union were universally opposed to Germany’s demand to reopen the EU’s treaties to strengthen the means of maintaining fiscal discipline among members of the euro zone. But within days of winning over Nicolas Sarkozy to her cause at the Deauville summit on October 18th, she got everyone to sign up to the idea of a “limited treaty change”. By the slow-moving standards of the EU, this happened in an eye-blink. It is a testament to the authority of Mrs Merkel, as well as the power of Germany’s constitutional court in Karlsruhe."

Current opinion polls indicate that Frau Merkel's fractious coalition with the FDP would be soundly beaten by left-of-centre parties if Germany voted tomorrow but, with three years until she is up for re-election, time is on the Chancellor's side. Unemployment is falling, growth is among the best in Europe and her tough remarks on multiculturalism and immigration are an attempt to protect her unhappy right-wing flank.


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