Majority of Germans Say EU Has Handled Vaccine Programme Badly

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a press conference with at the end of the first day of a two-days video conference of the Members of the European Council on the Covid-19 pandemic, in Brussels, on February 25, 2021. - EU council says EU leaders will take …
OLIVIER HOSLET/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The majority of Germans have said that the European Union has mishandled the rollout of vaccines — a shock result for citizens from the historically pro-EU country.

Polling data released on Wednesday from global communications firm Kekst CNC found that Germans were the most critical of the EU’s performance in procuring vaccines, with 51 per cent saying Brussels had handled the rollout “badly” and just 17 per cent saying the bloc had done “well”.

France had a plurality (35 per cent) of respondents say Brussels had done badly, with Kekst CNC remarking across all EU member states polled: “The European Union has seen its ratings fall across these three markets — down seven points in Sweden, down eight points in France, and down fully 24 points in Germany.”

Internally, the majority of Germans (53 per cent) thought that their country’s vaccine rollout was too slow, along with France (60 per cent), and Sweden (65 per cent). Amongst European countries, only Britons in the majority thought that the speed of the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in their country was “about right” at a massive 76 per cent.

According to Our World in Data, the United Kingdom has given at least one injection to 31 per cent of the population compared to less than 10 per cent in Germany.

Most Germans (46 per cent) also thought their country had handled the vaccine rollout “badly”, coming second only to Swedes who had even less confidence (51 per cent) in their country.

Meanwhile, another poll carried out by the DPA news agency and reported by German broadcaster Deutsche Welle found that most Germans (43 per cent) want a relaxation of Covid restrictions, with 17 per cent calling for a complete end to lockdown.

The Kekst CNC findings are largely in line with the flourishing of open criticism of both Germany’s government and the EU in German media. Earlier this week, the United Kingdom correspondent for German daily Die Welt wrote that his fellow countrymen were experiencing “unfamiliar feelings of post-Brexit envy” as “Brexit Britain races ahead” to vaccinate its population. He added that “nobody waxes enthusiastic about the EU any more, and the notion of ever-closer union has evaporated.”

The European Commission, headed by Germany’s former defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, came under criticism after her demand to take control of procuring vaccines for the entire bloc resulted in massive delays in vaccine production, while Brexit Britain speeded ahead.

Despite von der Leyen initially trying to blame the drugs company AstraZeneca — at one point her office threatened to block the exports of vaccines made under British contract from leaving the EU and even demanded doses made in Britain be sent to Europe to make up for the shortfall — European media has not been shy about laying the blame at von der Leyen and the bloc’s bloated bureaucracy.

Peter Tiede from Bild, Europe’s most widely-read publication, had written that the EU had created “the biggest confidence-destroying programme in its history”.

“On top of this, Brussels and the governments of the EU states have managed to confirm the old prejudice of a sluggish Europe. Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, denies all blame. Whistling loudly in the dark and thus damaging even further any confidence in her ability to run the EU,” the chief political reporter for the German magazine continued.

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