Constantin Eckner

Constantin Eckner is a Berlin-based journalist and historian. He works for numerous German newspapers and broadcasters

Will Germany’s ‘Rwanda-style’ migrant plan ever materialise?

Germany’s chancellor is cracking down on asylum seekers – but he is not doing so willingly. The country’s federal government is weighing up a system – similar to the UK’s mooted ‘Rwanda plan’ – for asylum applications to be processed abroad. But Olaf Scholz, who was essentially cornered into the announcement following a marathon session

Will Germany’s new left-wing party challenge the AfD?

Sahra Wagenknecht, a pivotal figure of the German left, has decided to go up against her former party by launching a new protest movement. Today, Wagenknecht gave a press conference announcing that she was leaving Die Linke party to run an organisation called the ‘Sahra Wagenknecht alliance’. She argued that Germany’s infrastructure was in a

Why Germans are going wild for King Charles

King Charles III is going down a storm in Berlin. Hundreds of wellwishers have turned out to greet the King during a reception at the Brandenburg Gate – and the monarch, who is on his first trip abroad since taking the throne, seems relaxed. But amidst the selfies and Burger King hats (which many of

How anti-lockdown protesters are outwitting German police

As Germans marked the new year last night, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s message was somewhat muted: ‘It’s clear to all of us: the pandemic is not over’, Scholz said in a televised address: ‘I appeal to all of you: let yourself be vaccinated.’ His message was aimed at the large number of Germans who are yet to be jabbed. Only 71.2

Merkel’s radical lockdown plan could quickly backfire

In its flailing response to the Covid crisis, the German government appears to have finally given up on federalism. Angela Merkel’s latest idea is to introduce nationwide ‘emergency brake’ measures to combat rising case numbers, replacing a patchwork system across the 16 federal states. But will it help bring Germany’s third wave under control? Legal changes

Merkel’s blundering lockdown U-turn

During her 16 years in office, Angela Merkel has produced a couple of memorable sentences that will be imprinted into her legacy. She added a few more on Wednesday, when she announced that the government rescinds plans of a radical Easter shutdown, saying: ‘This mistake is my mistake alone.’ Merkel’s CDU is rapidly losing the

Germany’s vaccine debacle goes from bad to worse

Germany’s decision to stop using the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has been condemned internationally. It has also gone down badly with Germans. Once again, the country’s health minister Jens Spahn is under fire.  A year into the pandemic, Germans are fed up with what they see as a government which is too cautious to use its only

The mask scandal threatening to destroy Merkel’s legacy

In Germany, masks have been one of the least controversial elements of this pandemic. Most people have accepted that they have to be worn in the supermarket or on public transportation. But now these items of PPE are at the centre of a full-throttle political scandal that risks badly damaging Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats in

Germany is regretting its criticism of the Oxford Covid jab

Germany’s fridges are filled with Oxford jabs. But there’s a problem: 80 per cent of the 735,000 doses delivered to Germany so far have not been used. The vaccine is being described in the German press as a ‘shelf warmer’. There are even reports of people missing appointments at vaccination centres if they have been notified that

Are Germans losing faith in the European project?

Germans are increasingly losing faith in the European Union due to its bungled handling of the vaccine roll-out. Germany and the other member states have assigned Brussels to organise and oversee the procurement and distribution of Covid jabs. But, so far, the roll-out has been a logistic mess. According to a poll by Civey, commissioned

Germany’s border controls risk an EU rupture

On Sunday, Germany halted most travel for those moving between the country and its neighbouring Czech Republic and Austria. After the South African variant was found in Austria and the British variant was detected in the Czech Republic, Germany designated these regions as ‘virus mutation areas’ and announced the measures on its east and southern borders

Why Germany is eyeing up the Sputnik V vaccine

After the EU’s vaccine distribution disaster, German lawmakers are now taking a closer look at Russia’s Sputnik V jab. If approved by EU regulators, Sputnik V could be the fourth vaccine available in the bloc after the BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines. It’s easy to see why Germany could be tempted by the Sputnik V

The EU goes to war over the vaccine

German politics is backing Brussels in the ongoing dispute between the EU and AstraZeneca over Covid vaccine shipments. The European Union alleges that the pharma firm, which is producing the Oxford-developed vaccine, is planning to supply the UK faster and while failing to fulfil its contract with Brussels. A meeting on Wednesday between officials and representatives from the Cambridge-based

Merkel is making a mess of Germany’s Covid vaccine rollout

Angela Merkel is known for her competency, yet even Mutti’s defenders would struggle to use that word to describe Germany’s rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine. German firm BioNTech won the race to develop a vaccine, but this has not prevented crippling supply shortages, which has forced states including North Rhine-Westphalia, in the west of the country, to suspend jabs. 

Who is Merkel’s successor, Armin Laschet?

Armin Laschet is the new chairman of Germany’s Christian Democrats – the party that was led by Angela Merkel for almost two decades. Laschet was elected in a runoff vote during the digital party conference on Saturday, beating centre-right candidate Friedrich Merz, by 521 votes to 466, to resolve a three-way contest that had also

Germany’s latest restrictions are stoking division

Germany’s new lockdown has hit its people like a lightning bolt. On Tuesday, Angela Merkel and the 16 federal state leaders decided that those in coronavirus hotspots should not be allowed to travel beyond a nine-mile radius (15 kilometres) if they don’t have a valid reason.     Valid reasons include a visit to a doctor’s

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

The EU is taking a gamble with China

It took Brussels and Beijing seven years to agree an investment deal. A deal that, until its conclusion a few days ago, had been largely eclipsed by the Brexit process. Once the negotiations had concluded, however, the European side suddenly came under intense criticism — China, detractors said, was not the sort of country the