The German chancellor, whose leadership
has helped preserve and promote an open, borderless Europe in the face of economic turmoil and an ongoing refugee crisis, is TIME’s 2015 Person of the Year
…At a moment when much
of the world is once more engaged in a furious debate about the balance between safety and freedom, the Chancellor is asking a great deal of the German people, and by their example, the rest of us as well. To be welcoming. To be unafraid. To believe that great civilizations build bridges, not walls, and that wars are won both on and off the battlefield. By viewing the refugees as victims to be rescued rather than invaders to be repelled, the woman raised behind the Iron Curtain gambled on freedom. The pastor’s daughter wielded mercy like a weapon. You can agree with her or not, but she is not taking the easy road. Leaders are tested only when people don’t want to follow. For asking more of her country than most politicians would dare, for standing firm against tyranny as well as expedience and for providing steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply, Angela Merkel is TIME’s Person of the Year.
ORBAN/REA/Redux January: From left: French
President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas link arms during a silent march against terrorism in Paris on Jan. 11, 2015 following the attack on French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.
Getty Images May: Chancellor Angela
Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron listen to their nations' national anthems upon Cameron's arrival at the Chancellery on May 29, 2015 in Berlin. Cameron was in Berlin as part of his tour of European Union member states capitals in order to persuade leaders on the necessity of E.U. reforms.
Michael Kappeler—Reuters June: From left:
U.S. President Barack Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel and France's President Francois Hollande attend a working dinner at the G7 summit at the castle Elmau in Kruen, Germany on June 7, 2015. Leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations met in the Bavarian Alps for a summit overshadowed by Greece's debt crisis and ongoing violence in Ukraine.
Getty Images June: Chancellor Angela
Merkel welcomes Queen Elizabeth II upon her arrival at the Federal Chancellery during the royal couple's four-day visit to Germany on June 24, 2015 in Berlin. The Queen and Prince Philip visited Berlin, Frankfurt and the concentration camp memorial at Bergen-Belsen during their first to Germany since 2004.
Eric Vidal—Reuters October: Greece's Prime
Minister Alexis Tsipras talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to a meeting over the Balkan refugee crisis with leaders from central and eastern Europe at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels on Oct. 25, 2015.