"I want to serve Germany." It is with those words that on May 30 Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), summed up her plans for government. It is a modest yet transparent formula, reflecting the candidate, who would be the country's first female leader if elected. After the disastrous performance of the SPD in the regional elections of North Rhine-Westphalia, Chancellor Schroeder announced early legislative elections, and ever since then, the woman that Helmut Kohl nicknamed "the kid" has had the wind in her sails. It is true that Schroeder's terrible record leaves little hope that he might be reelected for a third term. Angela Merkel has been preparing for this moment for years; her intention is to cut unemployment, strengthen the educational system and encourage the most dynamic sectors of the economy. More of an Atlanticist than Schroeder, and a great admirer of Tony Blair, Merkel will no doubt replace the moribund Franco-German pairing with a German-British initiative that will become the new engine of Europe.