IIn the fall of 2002, Angela Merkel lost the election and won a friend. The defeat in the Bundestag elections in September was preceded by her party’s forced abandonment of her candidacy for chancellor at the beginning of the year. But in November, Merkel, head of the CDU, traveled to Paris. There she wanted to help Jacques Chirac, the French president who had just won re-election, in his endeavors to form a new party from among his supporters. Three years later, in the fall of 2005, Angela Merkel also won the elections. He soon became his friend, British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The newly elected chancellor immediately provided both of them a favor of friendship. At the next EU summit, her first as head of the German government, she unraveled the knot previously tied by Blair, Chirac and others in a serious dispute over the EU’s next seven-year budget. This success, achieved less than three months into her tenure as chancellor, cemented Angela Merkel’s reputation in foreign policy – a reputation to which she contributed to her overall preparation and personal qualities.