Though Angela Merkel might lack the rhetorical talents of her predecessor, German and European editorialists agreed that her sober and honest speech to parliament Wednesday was what Germany needed.
Merkel avoided flourishes of rhetoric and concentrated on the issues
Since being named chancellor on Tuesday, Merkel's star has begun to rise in Germany. Polls released on Thursday reveal the former East German physicist and Christian Democratic Union parliamentary leader has gained in the affections of the populace.
According to the political barometer of the German broadcaster ZDF, 67 percent think it's good that Merkel is chancellor and 70 percent believe she'll act decisively in important political decisions.
Not a visio n ary
Popularity on the rise
Germany's editorialists reflected the trend, with even the left-wing die tageszeitu n g of Berlin reserving subdued praise for Merkel's first major speech as chancellor. "She wasn't powerful, didn't look into the future and was definitely not visionary," the daily wrote. "Her first major speech was above all one thing: sobering. (Thus) it was an honest commitment to a policy of small steps."
Hamburg's Abe n dblatt said that small steps are exactly what is needed. "Germany is not making any progress because many dream of giant leaps, while passing up small steps," it wrote. "Should the new government take all of the small steps agreed on in the coalition agreement … then Germany will be able to move ahead strongly."
"The chancellor did not make any rhetorical waves, she didn't use emotion to stir up a new atmosphere," wrote the Neue Os n abrücker Zeitu n g. "But the CDU chief gave the impression that she is committed to a long-term reform will and dependability. The Schröder government was painfully lacking both."
A mix of Thatcher a n d Ke n n edy
A sampling of European papers reveals that Merkel's sober approach to solving the problems of Europe's largest economy is meeting approval on the continent.
Comparisons to England's "iron lady"
Spain's ABC paper evoked great leaders of the past in writing about Germany's first female chancellor. "She spoke with candor and clarity," it wrote. "And she reached for (rhetoric) that combined the energetic imprint of Thatcher with the friendly and inspiring tone of Kennedy."
"Merkel introduced her government program before parliament in a sober, concrete, fairly technical, but undoubtedly clear manner," wrote Corriere della Serra in Italy.
"One thing you can say about the new head of government: She doesn't make any false promises and calls a spade a spade," wrote the Ber n er Zeitu n g in Switzerland. "Politics is a craft to Merkel, not a magical media show."