Lucinda Creighton: As Merkel bows out, who will be the steadying hand of Europe?

Armin Laschet, the staid new leader of the centre-right CDU, may just hold off the charismatic Greens leader Annalena Baerbock to become German chancellor

‘Annalena Baerbock, chancellor candidate and co-head of the German Greens, is a perfect candidate in may ways, being young, articulate, female and smart.’ Picture: Getty

The looming elections in Germany will have an inevitable and enduring impact, not just on Germany, but on Europe as a whole. It will be the first election in 20 years that will not be contested by Angela Merkel, who was elected leader of the centre-right CDU party in 2000.

Merkel has been a solid and enduring presence on the European scene through turbulent times, and her absence will be greatly felt.

While the other ...