European leaders praised Angela Merkel as German Chancellor on Friday, her last EU summit. She had spent 16 years influencing the bloc through major changes and ups.

Merkel has attended 107 EU summits. These events saw some of Europe’s most important twists, including the eurozone debt crisis, a flood of Syrian refugees, Brexit, and the creation the historic pandemic recovery funds.

According to an official present in the room, Charles Michel, European Council chief, said that she was a monument in his homage to her.

Michel said that an EU summit “without Angela” is like Rome without Vatican City or Paris without Eiffel Tower, after Merkel’s 26 colleagues gave her a standing ovation.

Merkel was presented with an “artistic impression” (a description of Merkel’s Europa building), which is a contemporary glass-topped cube in which summits are held.

European leaders heaped praise on German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday as she participated in her last EU summit after a 16-year reign heavily influencing the bloc through major ups and downs

European leaders praised Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, Friday as she attended her last EU summit. This was after a 16-year reign that had a significant influence on the bloc’s fate.

Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister, called Merkel a compromise machine’ that ‘usually did find some thing to unify us’ during marathon intra-EU negotiations.

He stated, “Europe will be missing her,”

Alexander De Croo, the Belgian Prime Minister, stated that “She is someone who has really left her stamp on Europe for 16 years, helping all 27 to make the right decisions with a lot humanity at times that were hard.”

Gitanas Nauseda, the Lithuanian President, said that he hoped Merkel would continue to be a ‘great politician in one form or another’.

Alexander Schallenberg, Austria’s Chancellor, described her as ‘undoubtedly a great European’, and ‘a haven for peace, if you want, within the European Union.

He said that her departure “will leave a gap.” 

Merkel (pictured speaking to French President Emmanuel Macron) has attended a staggering 107 EU summits that saw some of the biggest twists in recent European history

Merkel (pictured talking to French President Emmanuel Macron). She has attended 107 EU summits, which saw some of the most significant twists in recent European history.

Her final summit, which was a two-day affair in Brussels, leaned once more on her soft power skills to end a bitter row with Poland over its rejection EU’s legal system – something many believed could be the next existential threat for the bloc.

On Thursday, the Polish Prime Minster Mateusz Morawiecki stood by a ruling from his country’s Constitutional Court on October 7, which stated that EU law was only applicable in certain areas and Polish law prevailed across all other areas.

Merkel, backed French President Emmanuel Macron and spending her considerable political capital pushing to dialogue with Poland, warned against a cascade’ of legal battles if the matter exploded into challenges before the European Court of Justice.

The European Commission and other countries like Belgium and the Netherlands received the message. They wanted to impose more forceful sanctions on Poland, which they accuse have rolled back democratic norms by removing judicial autonomy in their national courts.

On the first day on Thursday, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (pictured talking to Merkel) defended an October 7 ruling by his country's Constitutional Court that said EU law applied only in specific, limited areas and Polish law prevailed in all others

On Thursday, the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (pictured speaking to Merkel) defended a October 7 ruling of his country’s Constitutional Court which stated that EU law only applied in certain, limited areas, while Polish law prevailed over all others.

Merkel’s long tenure has been marked by the recurring theme of east-west rivalry.

Her role as mediator reflected both Germany’s economic powerhouse status and her influence over many countries of the former Soviet bloc, whose membership to EU tilted the balance towards Berlin.

It also spoke about Merkel’s Polish-German family background and her tactic of quietly nudging the conflicting forces, before offering a compromise. 

One of the most divisive issues in eastern countries is migration.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (pictured talking to Angela Merkel today) was among those who railed against Merkel's unusually bold decision in 2015 to open Germany's borders to more than one million asylum seekers, mostly from war-torn Syria

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister, was pictured today talking to Angela Merkel. He was one of those who protested against Merkel’s bold 2015 decision to open Germany’s borders for more than a million refugees, most of them from war-torn Syria.

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime minister, was one of those who lashed out against Merkel’s 2015 bold decision to open Germany’s borders to more that one million asylum seekers, mainly from war-torn Syria.

Orban, who was supported by Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, ignored an EU directive to share burdens, causing a division on migration that has yet forger.

The second day of the summit saw the migration issue again.

However, the migration-leery position of the eastern countries was well-known and supported by Austria and the Netherlands. There was little to no substantive discussion and certainly not a breakthrough in burden-sharing.

Germany is still trying to put together a government that will replace Merkel’s after September elections she didn’t contest which saw her conservative CDU party get a defeat. 

Germany is still in the process of putting together a government to replace Merkel's, (pictured arriving on the second day of the summit on Friday) following September elections she did not contest that saw her conservative CDU party handed a drubbing

Germany is still trying to put together a government that will replace Merkel’s (pictured arriving on Friday, the second day of summit). This follows September elections she didn’t contest which saw her conservative CDU party get a drubbing.