Until as recently as two months ago, there was no good reason for anyone to remember the Merkel era 20 years from now.
Angela Merkel has initiated many projects; she wanted to be a climate chancellor, to make demographic changes, and to redefine financial markets. She didn't follow through on a single one of these projects.
Funding for education is alarmingly low, the energy transition is on hold, and the production sector is investing far too little to be able to stay competitive in the long run.
The chancellor has not left her mark as a politician. Her time in office has been marked with a series of neglected reform projects.
But the statements she has made on the refugee crisis mark a profound caesura in her 10-year chancellorship. Finally, Angela Merkel has dared to make enemies.
Granted, it took her a while to get there. For weeks, she remained silent about right-wing terror against asylum seekers. She hesitated, prevaricated, took no clear stance. And on top of that, she sent her spokesperson to replace her --and make obtuse statements-- in a national press conference.
But since then, she's found some courage. Finally, you can see that she's taking a clear political stance.
Angela Merkel is willing to enforce important and unpopular decisions despite resistance in her own party. She's risking her political legacy for a goal that's close to her heart, and for the purpose of upholding the values enshrined in our Basic Law, and to ensure a better future for the country.
What Merkel is trying to do is aligned with the vision of great politicians like Konrad Adenauer (rearmament, integration into the West), Willy Brandt (new eastern policy), Helmut Schmidt (NATO membership), and Helmut Kohl (German reunification, European integration).
In what is probably the most important political issue of the decade, she's taking initiative. New asylum laws will soon take effect in a number of regions. Meanwhile, she's defying the right-wing populism that has been growing in Europe. Merkel has showed right-wing populists that there is another way to do things.
In the future, when people look back and evaluate Europe's treatment of people from the war-torn regions of Africa and the Near East in the year 2015, the Freedom Party of Austria, the Polish Right and Justice party and the Hungarian Fidesz party will not able to fall back on the claim that closing the borders or taking nationalistic "special measures" were their only options.
Germany did things differently, and stayed true to the spirit of the Basic Law. This is a historic achievement.
At the moment, Norwegian experts believe that Angela Merkel has a good shot at the Nobel Peace Prize. The decision will be be announced on October 9. Give her the Nobel Peace Prize.
"She doesn't shy away from concrete and difficult discussions," Kristian Berg Harpviken, the director of the Oslo-based Peace Research Institute Prio, said on Thursday. "And we know she's been nominated, so she could win the prize."
You don't need to be a fan of Angela Merkel the politician. But consider this: she is someone who maintains poise on security-related political issues, resists the popularity of right-wing populism in Europe's contemporary society, and invites increased humanitarianism.
In short, when someone can put their money where their mouth is, and risks their career to defy hatemongers, they deserve a Nobel Peace Prize.
This post first appeared on HuffPost Germany and was translated into English.