Angela markel

The uninspiring choice facing German voters

The gloves are off in Germany’s electoral race. As personal insults are traded and skeletons dragged from their closets, even the German president — a figurehead who normally stays above politics — has urged all parties not to let the campaign descend into ‘mud-slinging’. In a rare political intervention, Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned that ‘measure and reason’ were preconditions of a functioning democracy. What had happened to cause the head of state such concern? The German Green party has long complained that their leader Annalena Baerbock is being subjected to a sexist smear campaign. Her party’s inexperienced spin doctors suddenly had a wave of allegations to deal with — from inaccuracies

Merkel’s government faces civil war over vaccine failures

European health ministries have not been happy places of late. Earlier this week, the German daily Bild reported a spat between national governments and the EU, frustrated at the bloc’s failure to procure vaccine doses in any serious numbers. That failure has now ricocheted back from Brussels, destabilising Germany’s increasingly fragile coalition government. So infuriated are Angela Merkel’s junior partners that they are now calling for a parliamentary inquiry into Germany’s vaccine failures, centring on one of her possible successors. Problems began when health ministers in Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands (the four countries with the most advanced pharmaceutical industries in the EU) joined forces to try to get