“Chancellor Angela Merkel has a good chance of winning the Nobel Peace Prize,” the German Bild newspaper said on Friday. “Reasons: her actions in the Ukraine crisis and the refugee policies.”
Merkel helped bring together Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko for negotiations this past February. The war now seems to be scaling down as ceasefires have held in certain parts of the country.
The big money item that could land her the Nobel Prize though appears to be her steady work to settle refugees around Europe. “Angela Merkel is the one who really took moral leadership and who turned the debate on refugee issues in a European context entirely around,” said Kristian Berg Harpviken, a peace prize analyst who has predicted 61-year-old Merkel as this year’s winner. Harpviken however has yet to accurately predict a winner.
Germany is expecting to resettle around 1 million people by the end of this year. Merkel’s motto during throughout this period has been “we will manage this.” But while Merkel may take the personal plaudits internationally, support for her at home has fallen.
— Peter R. Neumann (@PeterRNeumann) October 1, 2015
“German public opinion has turned sharply against Mrs Merkel’s refugee policy, according to a new poll for ARD television,” conservative-leaning British daily the Telegraph reported. “Her personal approval rating has fallen to 54 per cent, its lowest level since 2011, while her coalition government has a negative rating for the first time in more than a year.” AFP said Merkel was the most popular politician in Germany but has slipped to fourth in recent weeks.
Historian Asle Sveen is the author of several books about the peace prize. He hasn’t listed Merkel as his prediction for the prize, but told Bloomberg that current events could push votes in her favor.
“The absolutely hottest thing right now is the large refugee crisis,” Sveen said. “But Angela Merkel is nominated and then the Committee get a famous name and she has impressed.”