5 Reasons Angela Merkel Was Named Time’s Person of the Year 2015

Angela Merkel was today named TIME’s person of the year for 2015, making her just the fourth woman since 1927 to be named an individual outright winner.

It’s been a big year for the German chancellor, as Merkel also celebrated 10 years in power back in October. And while she’s no stranger to leadership on the world stage, a combination of factors have pushed her out in front this time around in what proved to be a very testing year.

1. Handling the refugee crisis beautifully.
Ms. Merkel has spoken powerfully about the need for EU members to act to help Syrian refugees and has pledged to take in 1 million asylum seekers by the end of December. And as leaders continued to fight over the refugee crisis, Germany put shame to the rest of Europe, with cheering crowds greeting them with open arms. Mama Merkel has become known as the compassionate mother of the EU, encouraging other countries to open their borders.

2. Greek economic crisis.
It certainly didn’t win her a legion of fans, and her hardline stance regarding a potential Greek exit from the Eurozone was seen by many as the return of the ugly Germany. But her resolve in leading Europe through the negotiations of this summer’s crisis and seeking compromise to avoid Greek insolvency,showed that her decisions haven’t always been easy to make. A deal was ultimately secured with no ‘Grexit’ and Merkel behaved modestly throughout, without a bad word uttered publicly about Greece.

3. She’s really the only leader with any power over the Russian president.
Not only does Angela Merkel speak Russian, she’s also pretty fluent in sass. When she met with Putin in 2007, he brought a black dog into the room in an effort to unnerve Ms. Merkel (who was bitten by one as a child). Angela dropped the microphone with this incredible comeback: “I understand why he has to do this, to prove he’s a man. He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.” Although their relationship is strained, she has been sure to keep the channels of communication open, which has helped her to diffuse situations like…

4. Russian intervention of Ukraine.
Putin didn’t wait long after the fall of Yanukovich to begin preparations to annex Crimea back in 2014. He ordered troops to disarm Ukrainian forces and take control of Crimea. With America nowhere to be found, Merkel found herself in the position of peacemaker, as she “led the West’s response to Vladimir Putin’s creeping theft of Ukraine.” Through diplomacy she, along with French president, Hollande, paved the way for an end to the civil war and hopefully a lasting ceasefire in Ukraine.

5. She found a way to blossom through the recession.
The economic crisis back in 2008 may seem like a long time ago, but its repercussions have left a mark on Europe and the world ever since. Though others in her position may have (and many did) fold, Merkel successfully steered Germany through the crisis in the Eurozone. Germany was estimated to have made 9 billion Euros out of the crisis by 2011 alone. In the aftermath of the crisis, Germany has established itself as the leading power in Europe, assuming much responsibility for the balance and well-being of the EU.

Not a bad resume, in other words.