German Chancellor and chairwoman of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Angela Merkel reacts before a party leadership meeting in Berlin, Germany, September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
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It is hard to think of what more Angela Merkel could have done over the past weeks to nudge fellow European leaders toward a post-Brexit consensus.For nearly a decade, Merkel has been setting the direction in Europe.She needs friends and allies on a lot of issues," said a former senior EU official who worked closely with the chancellor during the euro crisis.The official, who declined to be identified, said he saw no alternative to Merkel in the CDU, in Germany or in Europe. Merkel is the face of German austerity and of open European borders – the two policies that are energizing populist parties across the bloc, and, officials in some European capitals whisper, may have swung the British vote toward Brexit.It could also help determine whether Merkel continues to play an important role in shaping policy in Europe or becomes a weakened, more isolated figure.Then, Bratislava may be looked back upon as the moment when Merkel lost Europe.
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