Bafflement over Germany's chaotic Covid policy

Chancellor Merkel on Wednesday reversed plans for a five-day strict lockdown over Easter that had just been decided on Monday. She apologised to the nation, saying that the decision had not been well thought through. Europe's commentators are dismayed by what looks like an increasingly chaotic pandemic policy in Germany.

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La Stampa (IT) /

Contempt for politics will grow

The consequences of the loss of trust are what political scientist and Germany expert Gian Enrico Rusconi finds worrying in La Stampa:

“The fight against the pandemic is seen as the specific task of the state as an institution in its entirety. ... Consequently, the dissatisfaction with the inadequate management of the pandemic is directed at the state as such. The Germans' long-standing trust in the state has been damaged as never before. ... There is the danger that in the long run contempt for politics in general will become dominant, hegemonic. ... For years - because of her role and personality - Chancellor Angela Merkel has been synonymous with German politics. So her current difficulties in dealing with the pandemic seem to extend to the political class as a whole.”

Ria Nowosti (RU) /

Inconsistency creates panic

In a crisis like this, providing leadership is more important than seeking to always making the right decision, Ria Novosti believes:

“When the most powerful and wealthy country in the EU acts this way, we should be concerned. ... There's an old saying that a running general creates laughter in peacetime, but panic in wartime. This is no less true with regard to state governance. In a crisis situation, even bad decisions that are carried out rigorously and calmly will cause less harm than inconsistency, manifest cluelessness and unprofessionalism on the part of a country's leaders.”

La Croix (FR) /

Even Europe's powerhouse has failed

The French should stop grumbling and take a look across the Rhine, La Croix recommends:

“The back-pedalling and excuses are all the more spectacular given that they come from Europe's most experienced leader. 'Even her', one could say. ... We should remember this in France, where our excessive self-criticism threatens to blind us. The French would do well to watch what's happening on the other side of the Rhine. Not to be reassured, let alone to rejoice. They would see that there, too, the people mock the pedantic bureaucracy that is slowing down the vaccination campaign, and demonstrate against decisions, instructions and counter-instructions which are imposed from above and only cause confusion. This virus is a political headache for everyone, not just for us.”

Denik N (CZ) /

All a matter of perspective

Denik N can't see what Germany has done wrong:

“The German media write about chaotic crisis management, the failure of the political elite and incompetent organisation. This all sounds familiar to the Czech reader. However the connection with Germany is a little surprising. Yes, it's a matter of perspective. From the point of view of the Czech Republic, which is having difficulties keeping its head above water in the fourth wave and whose daily increase in new cases is many times higher than that of Germany, such harsh criticism of the German government is astonishing. Compared with the reality of the pandemic in the Czech Republic, Germany's crisis management appears prudent, and almost exemplary.”