Two-thirds of Germans take a dimmer view of the European Union and its German Commission president over the handling of COVID-19 vaccine supplies.
That is according to a new poll for newspaper Der Spiegel, which asked just over 5,000 residents of Europe's biggest economy "Has your view of the European Union improved or deteriorated as a result of the procurement of the corona vaccine?"
A massive 42 per cent said the EU was "definitely worse" in their eyes in the wake of its widely-criticised centralised vaccine approval and procurement policy. Another 22 per cent said the bloc was "somewhat worse" in their view, while only six per cent chose "somewhat improved or "clearly improved".
Breaking down the results on party lines unsurprisingly showed that almost nine in ten Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) voters held Brussels even lower in their esteem than before.
Supporters of the ruling Cristian Democrat Union (CDU) had a slightly less negative opinion than average of the EU, with just over half saying saying they had lost respect for the institution.
Those backing the broadly pro-EU left party Die Linke were slightly more negative about the bloc's performance than the overall trend, but the big surprise came from the liberal Free Democrat camp — where 63 per cent rated the EU "definitely worse" and another 15 per cent "somewhat worse".
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen fared even worse among her fellow Germans, with 50 per cent judging her "definitely worse" and another 18 per cent "somewhat worse". Even among supporters of the CDU, of which she was deputy leader for nine years, 63 per cent had a worse opinion of her.
Sucks to be UVDL Right Now
The hapless Brussels chief has come under scathing criticism in the German press — and reportedly among her former cabinet colleagues — over the slow roll-out of vaccines across the EU. That was after the commission insisted on taking over negotiations with suppliers from national governments and Some commentators recalled her poor performance as defence minister before her departure for Brussels in 2019.
Post-Brexit Britain has further extended its overwhelming lead over the bloc in its own coronavirus inoculation programme.
As of Wednesday, the UK had immunised 13.5 million people, compared to just 12.4 million across the 27 EU member states. Proportionally, 20 per cent of the 67 million British population had received at least one vaccine dose compared to 2.8 per cent of the 450 million EU inhabitants, a seven-fold difference.
Von der Leyen expressed "regret" for the Commission's failings at a press conference on Wednesday, although she tried to shift blame onto pharmaceutical firms.
"We were late with approval. We were too optimistic about mass production," she said. "And perhaps we were also too confident that the orders would actually be delivered on time."
She claimed the battle against coronavirus was a "marathon, not a sprint" for which the EU must "prepare immediately" — before announcing that the bloc's "preparedness agenda" would not be ready until next week.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) February 10, 2021
That was after the Commission was humiliatingly forced to back down hours after ordering the closure of the land border between the Republic of Ireland and the UK — in a bid to stop the export of Pfizer jabs amid the "vaccine war" von der Leyen launched against Britain.