Wednesday

20th Mar 2019

Forbes: Putin and Merkel most powerful people in the world

  • Merkel and Putin: Powerful but they don't get along very well (Photo: Bundesregierung/Steins)

Russian leader Vladimir Putin has trumped US President Barack Obama as the most powerful man in the world, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel retains her title as the world's most powerful woman, according to a yearly ranking published by Forbes magazine on Wednesday (30 October).

With his signature healthcare legislation under fire, allies outraged over spying and a barely-averted default on US debt, Obama can no longer be seen as the most powerful man in the world, Forbes editors write.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"It appears that President Obama's lame duck period has set in earlier than usual for a two-term president, causing him to drop one notch from the No. 1 spot," they add.

Meanwhile, the ex-KGB strongman is solidifying his power in Russia "and anyone watching the chess match over Syria has a clear idea of the shift in the power towards Putin on the global stage."

With the possibility of prolonging his presidency until 2024 and with a tight control over the country's oil and gas reserves, Putin has little to worry about when confronted with European or US criticism about human rights in his country.

One of his louder critics, but also the leader of a country with lucrative business relations with Russia, is Germany's Merkel - who for the eighth time in the past 10 years is awarded the title of the "most powerful woman in the world."

"The world's most powerful woman is the backbone of the 28-member European Union and carries the fate of the euro on her shoulders. Fresh off a commanding reelection in September 2013, she has served as ­Chancellor of Germany since 2005 - the first woman in the position," Forbes writes.

Merkel has also climbed in the male-dominated "most powerful people in the world" to the fifth spot, just after Pope Francis and the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping.

Mario Draghi, the head of the European Central Bank, is number nine on that list, followed by UK Prime Minister David Cameron (11) and French President Francois Hollande (18).

Apart from Draghi, no other EU official made it to the 72-strong list.

As for the female ranking, former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, currently head of the International Monetary Fund, is deemed the seventh-most powerful woman in the world. The Queen of the UK ranks 40, after pop stars such Beyonce and Angelina Jolie.

Forbes also did a ranking of the world's top billionaires.

The third richest man in the world is Spain's Armancio Ortega, who owns 60 percent of clothing brand Zara. His wealth is estimated at €41.5 billion. Forbes also notes that he bought valuable properties in Spain "at bargain prices" when the economy collapsed.

The richest man in the world is Microsoft founder Bill Gates (€52 billion), followed by Mexican telecoms chief Carlos Slim Helu (€50 billion).

Merkel beats Rice as world's most powerful woman

German chancellor Angela Merkel has come top in a Forbes magazine list of the world's most powerful women, beating US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice despite Berlin's first lady not even featuring in the 2005 ratings.

Opinion

No good news from Moscow

There is room for EU co-operation with an increasingly authoritarian Russia, but let us end the pretence of "strategic partnership."

Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban

The EU's largest political alliance, the EPP, will try to put the 'Orban issue' behind it going into the European election campaign. Hungary's ruling party, Fidesz, could be expelled or suspended from the political family.

EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance

Germany and Belgium have put forward a proposal for a "peer review" of EU countries' legal systems as member states and EU institutions struggle with disciplining member states that break EU rules.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

News in Brief

  1. EPP proposes suspension for Orban's Fidesz
  2. May asks for Brexit extension until 30 June
  3. Juncker: Brexit decision unlikely this week
  4. North Macedonia EU-membership talks set for June
  5. EU ups benefits rights for mobile workers
  6. Chinese leader visits Italy, France as Rome joins 'Silk Road'
  7. EU agrees to sanction political parties breaching data rules
  8. EPP votes Wednesday on future of Orban's party

Opinion

Catalan independence trial is widening Spain's divides

What is really needed is not the theatre of a rebellion trial, but a forensic examination of whether public funds were misused, and a process of dialogue and negotiation on how the Catalan peoples' right to self-determination can be satisfied.

Orban hosts Weber in Budapest for EPP showdown

The future of the Viktor Orban's Fidesz party inside the European Parliament's centre-right EPP political group hangs in the balance. On Tuesday, Orban and EPP chief Manfred Weber meet in Budapest in a final effort to iron out differences.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Latest News

  1. May tosses Brexit spanner into EU machinery
  2. Centre-right EPP faces showdown with Orban
  3. A compromise proposal for the Article 50 extension
  4. US glyphosate verdict gives ammunition to EU activists
  5. Have a good reason for Brexit extension, Barnier tells UK
  6. EU countries push for new rule of law surveillance
  7. EU rolls out €525m for military projects, but bars illegal tech
  8. May to seek Brexit extension amid UK 'constitutional crisis'

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us