Angela Merkel is under pressure. For many years she has been a rock at Brussels’ conference tables dominated by sobering discussions on the economic and social outlook of EU member states, and the German chancellor has become ever stronger both at home and abroad. While many leaders felt the impact of the economic crisis in elections back home, Merkel only seemed to be gaining in support and confidence. At the height of her success in 2013, she won her party an impressive victory in the federal elections, ultimately turning into the unchallenged face and leader of her Christian Democratic party (CDU), and of German power in Europe. The Kanzlerin (chancellor) earned respect from both her admirers and critics by taking the lead on Europe’s most pressing challenges, i.e. the future of the European Union and Russia’s threat to European security. Handling negotiations on the euro zone crisis and the annexation of Crimea have strengthened her – but dealing with a third fundamental test to Europeans, and indeed Germany, within less than a decade might turn out to be too much, even for Angela Merkel.  Continue reading.

This article originally appeared on the European Council On Foreign Relations website on October 8, 2015.

Almut Möller is Head of ECFR Berlin Office and Senior Policy Fellow and an AICGS Non-Resident Fellow.