Germany could be set to break away from Brussels as voters become fed up with the EU “holding the country back”. German Chancellor Merkel has come under intense pressure for allowing the EU Commission to spearhead the vaccine procurement scheme, which has been lagging behind other global powers. Deutsche Bank’s Marion Muehlberger told CNBC that Germans are frustrated with EU red tape following the vaccine crisis.
This comes as Deutsche Bank has said that Ms Merkel’s departure later this year “will leave a void in EU leadership” and could plunge the Brussels bloc into crisis.
CNBC host Steve Sedgwick asked Ms Muehlberger: “In terms of Germany’s relationship with the EU, Germany has of course benefited in so many ways.
“They have been able to export to the group and had a lower currency for its international exporters.
“But is the EU still actually working for Germany at the moment?”
JUST IN: Norway won case to protect its fishing waters from EU
He continued: “Quite frankly, such an efficient and amazing economy has been hamstrung by a woeful performance from the Commission.
“Is the relationship between the EU and Germany about to change?”
The Deutsche Bank economist responded: “Germany has always played an instrumental part in shaping the EU and bringing it forward. That won’t change anytime soon.
“It will be interesting to see who fills the leadership void in the EU once Angela Merkel steps down.
Ms Muehlberger responded: “Many would say it’s been a man on the moon moment for Germany with the vaccine.
“But, yes, it would have been better with less red tape, and of course, that is an important point that has to be followed up on.”
Voters in Baden-Wurttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate are heading to the polls on Sunday in elections that are seen as a test for the CDU party as it prepares its post-Merkel era.
There are fears among EU officials that Ms Merkel’s departure could lead to a less German-centric EU and more chaos inside the bloc.
Johannes Greubel and Sophie Pornschlegel, analysts at the European Policy Centre, said: “Chancellor Merkel will leave behind a political vacuum that cannot be easily filled.”