Occupation: German Chancellor
Alternately called a tough but visionary savior of the euro and a psycho-rigid austerity hound bent on turning the entire European Union into a supersized Germany, Merkel proved invaluable to efforts keeping the euro zone intact. Balancing demands for frugality with well-timed compromise, Merkel was vital to debt-relief agreements that averted the euro's implosion and avoided European financial anarchy that would have been ruinous to the global economy. In the process, she made herself and Germany the undisputed leader among European Union peers.
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