Fist-Waving Merkel Warns Germans of ‘Last Christmas with the Grandparents’ Amid ‘Winter Failure’

Merkel
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Germany’s fourth-term Chancellor, Angela Merkel, banged her podium in the German parliament and spoke of families’ “last Christmas with the grandparents” as she moves to shut down the country.

66-year-old Merkel, widely regarded as the most powerful and influential leader in the European Union, is facing a political maelstrom at home, as coronavirus cases rise and the Pfizer vaccine co-developed with the German firm BioNTech remains tied up by EU regulators.

“I want to say this: if we have too much contact over Christmas, and afterwards it turns out that that was the last Christmas with the grandparents, then we will have really messed up and we should not mess up!” she said in an address to the German parliament in which she shook her fist and banged her podium, according to a Reuters report.

Praised by the mainstream media for locking Germany down fairly quickly, her attempts to curb a rise in reported infections which has not been stopped by fresh lockdown regulations in October and November, with the influential Der Spiegel branding the situation “the winter failure”.

“Germany has lost five weeks with the vaccine. This costs many lives,” commented Karl Lauterbach, a politician — and epidemiologist by training — with the Social Democrats, who prop up Merkel’s government in a “grand coalition” of the so-called centre-right and left roughly equivalent to a joint Republican-Democrat or Conservative-Labour coalition.

Reuters cited a survey by the Forsa Institute for Social Research and Statistical Analysis which suggested 81 per cent of Germans believe Merkel’s government was too slow to implement the latest round of restrictions, with just 42 per cent of respondents saying they believe the federal government is doing a good job of coordinating its anti-coronavirus efforts with the country’s 16 state governments.

Chancellor Merkel has suggested that the new, harsher lockdown restrictions will last until at least January 10th, but Bloomberg reports she may extend them for much longer, possibly linking an easing of restrictions to the immunisation of over 60 per cent of the population.

Marcel Fratzscher, of the DIW economic institute, has predicted “a wave of corporate bankruptcies next year” as the economic impact of the pandemic and associated lockdowns bites, saying: “It’s not the question of whether it’s going to come. It’s more a question of when exactly companies will fail.”

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