Angela Merkel has become the most important politician in Europe. She rarely speaks candidly to the press so these comments given to a consortium of liberal newspapers including The Guardian are worth paying attention to:
Within the wider euro zone debt crisis she considers Greece, "a special case where, despite all the efforts that have been made, neither the Greeks themselves nor the international community have yet managed to stabilize the situation."
As for the future of Europe, she reveals herself to be a true federalist. "My vision is one of political union because Europe needs to forge its own unique path. We need to become incrementally closer and closer, in all policy areas," the chancellor said.
Merkel's public persona is of someone who is unyielding but in the interview she acknowledges she is often uncertain of her actions, "Good politicians always have doubts, as a way of constantly reviewing whether they are on the right track."
That statement will be read ironically in Britain, on a day when it was confirmed the economy is contracting but Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said he would continue taking government money out of the economy with his austerity measures in his drive to reduce the deficit. Doubt never seems to figure in Osborne's approach to work.