FDP leader Lindner tops Politico’s list of people likely to shape Europe in 2018


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Brussels-based European edition of US online magazine Politico published a list of 28 people who are “shaping, shaking and stirring Europe”, and “are most likely to shape our world in 2018”. 

German politician and leader of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) of Germany Christian Lindner tops the list, as Politico believes that however German politics unfolds, Lindner is certain to find himself at its center.

38-year-old Lindner “brought Germany’s three-way coalition talks to a crashing end, putting the country on the path to new elections or a minority government headed by wounded German Chancellor Angela Merkel”, Politico explained.

Christian Lindner with Angela Merkel [Photo:EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN]

Should Germans return to the polls, Lindner will have a chance to build on his electoral success, pursuing a strategy similar to Austria’s Sebastian Kurz who is on track to become chancellor after tacking his party hard to the right to engage the country’s populists on their own ground”, concluded the magazine.

British Conservative politician Michael Gove is the second on the list, as Politico claims that Brexit put the current UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs “in a position to radically reshape the British landscape - literally”.


French Minister of Labor Muriel Pénicaud ranks third; Politico referred to her as French President Emmanuel Macron’s “iron fist”, saying that she would go down in history as the woman who subdued France’s unions - as she presided in September over a major overhaul of France’s famously protective labor code, following months of closed-door negotiations.

Muriel Pénicaud [Photo: EPA/PHILIPPE WOJAZER]

The list contains 18 men and 10 women from 28 different countries, including nine persons under 40 years of age.

Sixth-ranked Slovenian investigative reporter Anuska Delic is the only person from the region of former Yugoslavia; Politico reminded that Delic wanted “to blow a hole in the walls of the European Parliament”, over “institution’s refusal to disclose how its MEPs spend some €450 million a year in taxpayer money”.

She responded with pulling together the MEPs Project, a loose network of journalists representing all 28 EU countries, and they bombarded the Parliament with freedom of information requests, demanding documentation detailing how MEPs spend the professional allowances they receive on top of their paychecks.

All persons on the list come from Europe, except for 22nd-ranked Libyan military officer and head of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar. Politico claims that European leaders - including French President Macron and Italian Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti - seem to be increasingly willing to overlook Haftar’s history of making threats against Italian naval ships entering Libyan waters and ignoring ever-louder allegations of Haftar’s responsibility for war crimes during his battle for control of eastern Libya.  

Khalifa Haftar [Photo: EPA/PHILIPPE WOJAZER]

“Elections in Libya, if they go ahead as planned, would offer Haftar a path to the presidency. Failure to hold them, and the prospect of further chaos, strengthens the argument that what the country really needs is a strongman in Tripoli and a blind eye from the EU”, Politico explained.