Europe’s technocrats play into populist hands with their bungled Covid response | Hans Kundnani

Europe’s technocrats play into populist hands with their bungled Covid response | Hans Kundnani

The Guardian

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Angela Merkel’s apology for cancelling the Easter lockdown was the latest example of the EU elite making a critical misstep

Angela Merkel likes to say there is no alternative to her policies; and when she does make U-turns, she tends not to admit to them. So it was highly unusual when last week, amid growing anger about her government’s response to the pandemic, the chancellor apologised to the German people. The government had planned to put the country in a tight lockdown for five days over Easter in an attempt to curb the sharp rise in infections, but abandoned the idea after it was widely criticised.

In the early phase of the pandemic, Germany seemed to stand out as one of the few western democracies that had handled it relatively successfully. A chorus of commentators attributed this to Merkel herself and in particular to her technocratic approach, based on her background as a scientist. By contrast, they saw other countries such as the UK and the US, where “populist” leaders were in power, as mishandling the crisis.

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