Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was first elected in 2005, making her the longest-serving leader in the European Union. Her party, the Christian Democratic Union, is the major party of the country's centre-right, although the nature of German politics means coalition governments are common. In leading her party to three election victories, Merkel has developed a reputation for pragmatism and resolute but low-key leadership. Within Europe, she has been a committed proponent of greater integration and cooperation, while also emerging as one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most staunch geopolitical opponents. Perhaps the greatest test of her leadership came during the European refugee crisis, when she elected to open Germany's borders, despite significant backlash. Upon Donald Trump's election as US president, many of trump's critics suggested Merkel had become the new "leader of the free world".

A refugee carries a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel as he arrives at the main train station in Munich. File photo: AP

Merkel buckles: Germany caps refugee intake to 200,000 a year

Two weeks after winning elections with a reduced majority, Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to limit Germany’s refugee intake in a bid to unite her conservative camp ahead of tough coalition talks to form a new government.

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