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The Strongwoman of Europe

Germany's Principled Leadership

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives at a European Union leaders summit over migration in Brussels, Belgium, March 17, 2016. Francois Lenoir / Reuters

Almost a year after Europe’s refugee crisis began, the pressure is still on to find a solution. On March 18, Turkey and the European Union, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the forefront, agreed on a deal: for every illegal Syrian refugee returned to Turkey from Greece, one legal Syrian refugee already in Turkey would be resettled in the EU. Humanitarian agencies such as Médecins Sans Frontières and Save the Children quickly condemned the plan, criticizing it as an unethical and illegal attempt to prevent refugees from migrating to western Europe. Although the deal has raised hopes that the EU might have finally found a way to reduce the flow of migrants, it has also dented its reputation as an inclusive defender of human rights.

In Germany, the deal has divided public opinion. Politicians on the left argue that it has damaged Merkel’s position as the EU’

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