Most Germans believe EU is broken following the coronavirus vaccine debacle, new survey shows


Most Germans believe the EU’s political system is broken following the coronavirus vaccine debacle, new survey shows

  • 55% of Germans, a rise of 11% since November, felt the bureaucracy had failed 
  • Germany has vaccinated just 46% of its population, compared to 60% of Britons
  • Merkel relies on Brussels for jabs, a source of frustration for many Germans 

Most Germans believe the EU’s political system is broken following the coronavirus vaccine debacle, a new survey has shown.

Fifty-five per cent of Germans, a rise of 11 per cent since November, felt the bureaucracy had failed, the sharpest rise of any major European power.

Forty-nine per cent said they had less or much less confidence in Brussels specifically as a result of its vaccines policy, according to the survey by the European Council for Foreign Relations (ECFR).

Germany, which prides itself on industry, has managed to vaccinate just 46 per cent of its people – this compares to more than 60 per cent in Britain.

Germany, which prides itself on industry, has managed to vaccinate just 46 per cent of its people – this compares to more than 60 per cent in Britain

German disillusionment was laid bare in February with a front page splash in Bild, the country's most popular newspaper, with the headline: 'Dear Brits, we envy you!'

German disillusionment was laid bare in February with a front page splash in Bild, the country’s most popular newspaper, with the headline: ‘Dear Brits, we envy you!’

Its people lay the blame at Ursula von der Leyen’s door, with a third saying that the coronavirus crisis showed ‘EU integration has gone too far’ – a spike of 10 per cent compared to last year. 

The EU failed to grant swift approval to the vaccines and then furiously blamed AstraZeneca – and Britain – for the lack of supply, in an ugly row that drew condemnation from even its most ardent supporters like Jean Claude Juncker.

German disillusionment was laid bare in February with a front page splash in Bild, the country’s most popular newspaper, with the headline: ‘Dear Brits, we envy you!’

Britain, though it has suffered nearly double the number of deaths per capita than Germany, was free of the EU’s shackles and able to broker its own vaccine deals, spending big and spending early. 

‘The EU’s poor performance in the vaccine roll-out risks transforming Brexit from a cautionary tale about Euroscepticism into a story of liberation from the sluggish bureaucracy of Brussels institutions,’ the ECFR said in a policy brief. 

Chancellor Angela Merkel's reliance on Brussels for vaccines has frustrated many in Germany

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reliance on Brussels for vaccines has frustrated many in Germany

However, the survey didn’t give compounding evidence that Germany was headed for its own version of Brexit – dubbed Dexit – any time soon.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD), the most prominent Eurosceptic party, was given a bloody nose in regional elections in one of its heartlands just four days ago. 

Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) defied pollsters to claim victory in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, with 37 per cent of the vote – seven points more than the last election in 2016 and 16 points ahead of second-placed AfD.

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