Macron is ‘untethered’ without Angela Merkel says expert
Last year, European governments shifted responsibility for vaccination procurement to the . This is because reasoned that it would have strained EU cohesion if had procured privileged supplies of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which was funded by Berlin. The move seems to have backfired.
So far, the UK has vaccinated over seven million people – the third largest total in the world.
On the other hand, the whole of the has vaccinated just over nine million, despite accounting for 27 countries, according to figures by Our World in Data.
This is why the news that AstraZeneca, an Anglo-Swedish vaccine-maker, may supply less than 40 percent of the doses the EU expected in the first quarter has sparked fury among the bloc’s leaders.
Amid the recriminations, politicians are arguing that, if AstraZeneca refuses to make up some of the shortfall with supplies from its plants in Britain, then the EU should retaliate by stopping exports to Britain from plants in continental Europe.
Adding to the uncertainty, a draft recommendation from a expert committee called for offering the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine only to people under age 65 for now.
European authorities are therefore under pressure after a sluggish start to the EU’s vaccination campaign in its first month.
It appears to be a moment of truth, not just for the future trajectory of the EU, but also for the legacy of the German Chancellor.
Some 80 percent of voters were pleased with Mrs Merkel’s management of the coronavirus crisis, according to a poll by broadcaster ZDF’s Forschungsgruppe Wahlen published in June.
However, the vaccine fiasco and the second wave of infections is causing havoc in .
Chief economist at the Centre for European Reform Christian Odendahl wrote on Twitter, attaching a picture of a survey by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung: “Approval rating of Merkel‘s government is in free fall, on the back of the vaccine disaster and mishandling of the second wave.”
The graph shows that only 49 percent of voters now believe Mrs Merkel’s government is doing a good job at handling the crisis.
On the other hand, 42 percent of voters are critical – up from 15 percent in August.
Mr Odendahl added on Twitter: “This is not bad news just for Jens Spahn [the German Health Minister].
“The state Prime Ministers are in charge of the lockdowns etc, so Laschet, Söder et al equally under fire.”
Mr Laschet was appointed new federal chairman of Germany’s centre-right Christian Democrats (CDU) earlier this month.
He was elected in a runoff against conservative Friedrich Merz by 521 votes to 466, to resolve a three-way contest that also featured outsider Norbert Röttgen.
Among the three candidates, Mr Laschet, who since 2017 has been the premier of ‘s most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia, is the one who stands most strongly for a continuation of Angela Merkel’s course and a “CDU of the centre”.
In his victory speech, Mr Laschet promised to fight for the party to do well in upcoming regional elections and to keep hold of the position of Chancellor.
However, the latest approval ratings of the German government show the leader of the CDU has a long way to go yet.
Political scientist Marcel Dirsus recently told TheLocal.De: “Laschet is now the frontrunner to succeed Merkel but it remains to be seen whether he can actually pull it off.
“On one level Laschet is just like .
“People have a tendency to underestimate him.
“He is a formidable politician and much more capable than people give him credit for
“The next couple of months and upcoming state elections will be key.”
According to Mr Dirus, Mr Laschet’s “main obstacle” to the Chancellery will be Markus Söder.
Mr Söder, who is leader of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) has forged a high profile in the coronavirus pandemic, and public opinion polls place him high.