In one of those perfect political juxtapositions, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told an interviewer this week that “the longer I stay, the better I get” just as attention focuses again on the human catastrophe and security crisis unfolding on the European Union’s southern border.

Merkel hails herself while her supporters talk of her as the real leader of the free world in the age of Trump. What has German leadership meant in terms of the refugee crisis? The European Union, currently preening itself over Britain’s supposed uselessness, has the most appalling record on protecting and guarding Europe’s long southern border. It is now a route through for terrorists among the migrants, who then arrive in an open border continent. This epic EU disaster follows its delivery, via the single currency, of misery to tens of millions of Europeans.

All the while, there has been Merkel in charge, supposedly getting better. Will she have the hang of it properly by the time she retires after perhaps 16 years in charge?

In the polls she is a mile ahead of her rival – Martin Schulz – ahead of the German election that takes place on the 24th of September.

But as Roger Boyes put it in The Times today, Merkel cannot see that her time is running out.

Beyond the election she’s fading, and will leave barely a trace behind.

I’ve always been a Merkel sceptic who never bought the hype. Is she a fearsome operator and survivor? Of that there is no doubt. But to what end? And when she does eventually  retire, what will the legacy be? Thatcher was a giant, in terms of the Cold War and economic reform. Helmut Kohl, the German leader Merkel did in, could claim overseeing German reunification, a pact with France and the single currency. The final one of that trio of achievements is, to put it mildly, highly questionable and contested. But he was a big figure.

What’s Merkel’s claim to greatness and getting better the more she stays on? There isn’t one.