Angela Merkel (since 2005)
Rehabilitation, reform, investment
Angela Merkel (CDU) has been Federal Chancellor of Germany since 22 November 2005. She is the first female head of government. Angela Merkel, who has a PhD in Physical Chemistry, grew up in East Germany.
Following the elections to the Bundestag in 2005, Germany for the second time had a Grand Coalition made up of the CDU and the SPD. It was faced with urgent challenges: Nearly five million people were registered unemployed; national debt was worryingly high.
The government under Angela Merkel quickly began with the task of gradually consolidating its budget. At the same time it reduced corporate taxes and thus made it easier for companies to create new jobs.
The economy started to boom. Germany extended its lead as the world’s leading export nation and registered the lowest unemployment figures since reunification.
The Grand Coalition government also invested in long-term projects: in research, better education, the new parental allowance and new kindergarten places for small children .
They managed a sea change as regards reducing national debt: At no time since reunification had Germany’s financial situation been so good.
Stabilising the country – and setting the course for new growth
This positive development came to an abrupt end in late 2008. As a result of the financial crisis that spilled over from the United States into the rest of the world, the global economy found itself in drastic trouble in the autumn of 2008.
Being an export nation, the crisis soon hit Germany, too.
Thanks to resolute action and forward-looking investments the government under Angela Merkel continuously worked at mitigating the consequences of the crisis and getting the country back on the road to economic recovery.
It did not want Germany simply to get through the crisis but to emerge stronger and more future-proof than before.
Re-election and euro crisis
During the elections to the Bundestag in autumn 2009 the CDU/CSU and FDP won the majority of the seats in the Bundestag. The members of the coalition elected Angela Merkel as Federal Chancellor for the second time.
Shortly after that, in late 2009, the European sovereign debt crisis shook the global economic and financial world. To get a grip on this crisis, Angela Merkel worked and continues work to strengthen European economic and currency union.
Sound finances and incentives for more growth are the guideposts of the German Government’s policy on the euro. Reducing the high levels of youth unemployment in many EU countries is a particular matter of concern for Angela Merkel.
The government continues to pursue the policy it embarked upon during its first term in office of budget consolidation aimed at achieving a budget without the need for new debt. Despite the euro crisis, the government is strictly adhering to its goal of a balanced budget.
Turnaround in energy policy
The turnaround in energy policy is the second biggest challenge the CDU/CSU/FDP coalition is facing.
Following the nuclear accident in the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in March 2011, the German Government decided to phase out nuclear power by 2022.
To drive forward the turnaround in energy policy, Merkel’s government adopted a wide-ranging package of legislation to promote renewable energies, expand the power grid and improve energy efficiency.
Cooperation at international level
The German Government under Angela Merkel is pushing for more climate protection at international level:
Both in Europe and in the United Nations it supports fighting global warming as it believes that future generations have a right to a liveable environment.
At international level the Chancellor also supports sustainable economic stability. In the face of globalisation she is, for example, urging countries to cooperate more closely to find common rules for the global economy.