Angela Merkel Under Conflicting Pressures in the Euro Crisis
Forbes magazine has selected German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the world's most powerful woman.
Chancellor Merkel may be excused for not feeling all that powerful. As the European leaders return from their vacations, they also return to Europe's persistent financial crisis. This crisis has hit Germany in particular, as that country is expected to shoulder the brunt of the economic burden in propping up the euro.
To stave off a crippling crisis of confidence and perhaps the collapse of the euro, European leaders and particularly Merkel are being prodded into taking drastic action. One expectation is that they expand the powers of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to bail out financially troubled members of the euro zone, which may include Spain and Italy.
They are also being told to act quickly. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who gave the former East German Merkel her political start by including her in his cabinet following German reunification, has been critical about her performance and seeming hesitation. He wants Germany to take the bull by the horns and sort out the euro, whatever the price.
However, it is precisely for pursuing these sweeping changes without going through national parliaments that Merkel is being blamed.Merkel is feeling the opposition even from her own party.
Some members have announced that they will vote against the EFSF proposal or include a right to veto for the German Bundestag on future rescue packages. The proposal is also being challenged in the constitutional court.
The brewing intraparty revolt has forced Merkel to cancel a much heralded trip to Russia on September 7.
Both German president Christian Wulff and the German Bundesbank have condemned the European Central Bank for investing heavily in Spanish and European bonds. This was a backdoor way that imposed more debts upon Germany without consulting the German legislature.
When Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy discussed the idea of an economic government for Europe, Merkel's sister party, the Bavarian Christian Social Union was furious and offered a counter proposal ejecting economically profligate states from the euro zone.
Merkel was forced to send in her spokesperson to explain that they were confusing government with governance and that there was no intention to slight German national sovereignty, but merely a call for greater coordination between countries.
The most powerful woman is steeling herself for the coalition's defeat in the Mecklenburg state elections this Sunday. This will compound her problems.
Power ratings cannot be revised as easily as exchange rates.