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Merkel to Germans: Don’t be so negative!

Published: (Updated: ) in European News by .

‘You can’t get anywhere if there’s always a negative,’ she said. ‘We will defeat this virus.’

Chancellor Angela Merkel encouraged her fellow German citizens on Thursday to combat the pandemic with optimism instead of complaints about restrictions and vaccine delays, proclaiming: “We will defeat this virus.”

Speaking in the Bundestag ahead of a virtual meeting with other EU leaders, Merkel said: “You can’t get anywhere if there’s always a negative.” She then added: “It is crucial whether the glass is half full or half empty. And if it’s always only half empty, then we won’t develop any creative power in this country to get out of this crisis.”

Merkel’s plea — made one day after the chancellor backtracked on a controversial five-day Easter lockdown and offered a remarkable public mea culpa — comes amid growing frustration at the European level that nagging from Germany, paired with political campaigning in the country’s super election year, is spilling over into EU politics and pushing European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen into bad decisions.

“It will take a few more months, but the light at the end of the tunnel is visible. And we will defeat this virus,” Merkel said. “And that’s why it’s a matter of pooling our strength now and looking forward positively, even if the situation is difficult at the moment.”

The chancellor again defended the EU’s joint procurement of coronavirus vaccines, which has faced heavy criticism in Germany for not delivering sufficient doses and lagging behind other countries like the U.K., U.S. or Israel.

“If we now see that small differences in the distributions [among EU countries] trigger large discussions, I would not like to imagine at all what would have happened if some [countries] had vaccines, others not. That would have shaken the internal market in its foundations,” Merkel said, referring to recent criticism from Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and other Central European leaders that the EU’s vaccine purchase and distribution mechanism was favoring some member states.

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The European Commission has rejected that critique, stressing that all EU countries were granted the same opportunities to purchase vaccines via the EU mechanism. Some countries, like Austria, simply decided to buy less, allowing other countries, like Germany, to snatch up any remaining doses. Still, the dispute about the distribution of doses is expected to flare up again at Thursday’s videoconference of EU leaders.

Merkel did concede that the pandemic had “exposed serious weaknesses in the functioning of our community system,” particularly pointing to the sluggish vaccine rollout within Germany. She added that “it would be dramatic if we don’t succeed” with speeding vaccinations.

She also stressed that Europe must become “more independent” in its capacity to produce vaccines, adding that “we have to assume that this virus can keep us busy with its mutations for a long time. That means the question goes far beyond this year.”

Addressing the pandemic situation in Germany, Merkel called coronavirus mutations such as the British variant “a severe setback.”

“We are basically living in a new pandemic,” she said, urging German citizens to test themselves once a week with rapid tests provided by authorities. Even though the oldest people are now protected, the virus is still threatening to fill up hospital beds with people aged 50 to 70, Merkel said.

“These are people with very many years of life expectancy. And 10 percent, the experts tell us, will have long-term effects from corona,” she said. “That means it’s worth fighting for everyone not to get the infection.”

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Source: POLITICO https://www.politico.eu/article/angela-merkel-germany-dont-be-so-negative-coronavirus/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication

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