Another female German politician?
Technically she’s Belgian, but she has served in the last two German cabinets under Angela Merkel. Her job as Minister of Labour and Social Affairs ends tomorrow, when the Chancellor reshuffles her ministers.
Is she being given another post?
The 55-year-old has been appointed Germany’s first female defence minister. Her appointment triggered speculation not only about how the army would respond to having a woman in charge, but about whether she is being groomed to become Merkel’s successor as leader of the Christian Democrats.
She must be pretty useful then?
In her previous post she oversaw an unprecedented rise in the number of Germany’s working poor, yet cleverly timed interventions allowed the mother of seven to present herself as the social conscience of the government.
Could be the next chancellor...
She is tremendously popular with the electorate, almost too popular for Merkel, according to some – there are whispers that this move to the scandal-prone ministry is setting her up for a fall..
What’s likely to change?
In 2011, she said: “My aim is a united states of Europe, run along the lines of the federal states of Switzerland, Germany or the US.”