Former UK editor of Die Zeit magazine Jurgen Kronig broke down Angela Merkel’s handling of the pandemic and admitted while the chancellor enjoyed positive coverage at the beginning she was now facing a media crisis in Germany. Mr Kronig explained the federal politics of Germany has now slowed down and limited the executive power in the country as Merkel grapples with federal leaders. The journalist concluded and said some of Merkel’s critics were calling her “Orwellian” for suggesting “banning means freedom”.
Appearing on talkRADIO, host Julia Hartley-Brewer asked Mr Kronig: “Can we talk about what is going on in Germany and in the rest of Europe?
“We are seeing in many of the countries, including Germany, which has had such a successful pandemic relative to other countries in Europe in terms of the death toll and damage to the economy.
“And yet Germany is now seeing a surge in cases and is looking to basically extend lockdown and pretty much close down the country over the Easter holidays, what’s happened?”
The former editor replied: “Germany has had two completely different pandemics.
“First of all, you’re absolutely right everybody said ‘brilliant Germans are the example of the follow’ and now they are in the completely opposite camp.
“Confusion, disarray rebellion, Merkel is under losing support even in this very mild manner to uncritical mass media, public broadcasting.
“[Which were] all praising everything she did but now beginning to turn against.
“Many newspapers which were helpful at saying [she is] brilliant at what she does and [were] all supporters are now turning against her.
“It’s a federal state, we have 16 states and we have one national central government, the Merkel government but with limited ability to act.”
Mr Kronig explained that the reason behind the structure was to prevent a repeat of World War Two and a strong centralised government.
He argued at the beginning this – combined with a less bureaucratic health system – allowed Germany to act fast in tackling the pandemic.
But Mr Kronig continued: “But now that the second and third wave is rolling it’s extremely difficult to get any decisions in Germany.
“I visited a summit and they eventually came out with the solution which is now much too harsh.
“Merkel would have liked it to even have the be harsher.
“Easter is banned and there are talks by critics in the media of this being Orweallean when she talks about banning means freedom and so on.”