Tuesday

22nd Jun 2021

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

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe 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."

MEPs to declare EU an LGBTI 'freedom zone'

The symbolic move is an attempt to buttress against right-wing governments' increased scapegoating of LGBTI people, particularly in Poland and Hungary.

News in Brief

  1. UEFA: No rainbow 'pride' stadium illumination at Hungary match
  2. Italian PM calls to move Euro 2020 final from London to Rome
  3. UN warns of 'cascade of human rights setbacks'
  4. Minister urges Belgians to ignore speculation over dead soldier
  5. Swedish government toppled in no-confidence vote
  6. EU takes aim at British TV and film perks
  7. Iran nuclear deal: President-elect Raisi issues warning over talks
  8. EU agriculture spending 'failed' to reduce farming emissions

EU adds new 'dark red' zone to travel-restrictions map

The European Commission has proposed additional measures to limit non-essential travel within and to the European Union - amid fears over more transmissible mutations triggering a new surge in cases across the bloc.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. Latest EU sanctions to bite Belarus dictator's income
  2. Libyan detention centres must end, EU says
  3. Poland and Hungary sanctions procedure back after pandemic
  4. Sánchez risks 'betrayal' call with pardon for jailed Catalans
  5. EU a 'Wild West' for China's unsafe toys, gadgets and clothes
  6. 'You'll never walk alone' - our message to women
  7. Too soon to lift EU sanctions on Burundi, NGOs warn
  8. EU to wage economic war on Belarus dictator

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us