BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel could win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, the influential Bild newspaper said Friday, as the leader is lauded worldwide for her courage in opening her country’s doors to refugees fleeing war and persecution.
“Chancellor Angela Merkel has a good chance of winning the Nobel Peace Prize,” said the newspaper.
“Reasons: her actions in the Ukraine crisis and the refugee policies,” it added.
The report came a day after the director of Norway’s Peace Research Institute, Kristian Berg Harpviken, a leading peace prize analyst and one of the few to publish a shortlist predicted that Merkel, 61, will be this year’s laureate.
“I think the European refugee crisis, or perhaps we should say the global refugee crisis — because there is an equally dramatic refugee crisis in large parts of East Asia — is something that ought to grab the committee’s attention this year,” he said at a press conference in Oslo.
“Angela Merkel is the one who really took moral leadership and who turned the debate on refugee issues in a European context entirely around,” he added.
Despite opposition from other EU leaders and even a rebellion among her domestic allies, “she stood her ground”, said Harpviken, who however has yet to accurately predict a peace prize winner despite his expertise.
Germany is expecting to receive up to one million new arrivals this year, and despite reservations expressed by overwhelmed local authorities, Merkel has held fast to the mantra “we will manage this”.
Nevertheless, her popularity at home has been hit and last week she slipped from the top spot to fourth on the most popular politician scale published by news weekly Der Spiegel.