The UK cut all ties with the EU at the end of last year after a post-Brexit trade deal was signed at the 11th hour following nearly a year of tense and often bitter talks between the two sides. This ended Britain’s 47-year membership of the bloc, with Boris Johnson celebrating the UK’s newfound sovereignty and insisting the country will thrive outside of the bloc. It now appears that viewpoint has quickly spread to Germany, with Gabor Steingart conceding Britain is doing “better” than Germany during the pandemic and despite Brexit, the UK is now in the “economic fast lane”.
Britain has surged ahead on its Covid vaccination programme, with 40 percent of the UK fully vaccinated compared to just 19 percent in Germany, according to statistics from Our World In Data.
The EU’s own vaccination rollout has stumbled from one disaster to the next, with the bloc engulfed in rows with vaccine maker AstraZeneca over production and supply issues that has seen member states vent their fury.
Mr Steingart made a number of admissions in an article for German news website Focus Online entitled ‘”The corpse is grinning at us”: Why Boris Johnson’s British are now leaving us behind economically-speaking’.
He wrote: “Boris Johnson and his British do not need to be understood.
“But a look at the island can’t hurt to see what went better and is going better there during the pandemic in comparison to Germany.
“Despite Brexit, Great Britain is currently in the economic fast lane.
“In order to better recognise themselves, the vain ones look in the mirror and the wiser ones look over the garden fence.
“What we Germans see there, especially when we look into the distance and at the British island, should make us think.
“The very country that left the European Union is performing better than Europe’s largest economy in all currently important categories.”
The leading German journalist and author then went on to outline “four facets of an uncomfortable truth” to prove his point.
Mr Steingart first pointed to a graph from Our World In Data showing the staggering differences between the percentage of the population fully vaccinated against Covid in the UK compared to Germany.
He then claimed the success of the UK’s vaccination programme is driving the country’s economic growth at a faster rate than that forecast for Germany.
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The journalist and author stated how despite the pandemic, the UK economy is predicted to grow by 5.3 percent this year and by 5.1 percent in 2022, adding while “Germany is also growing, but more slowly”.
He wrote: “The often praised advantages of the EU over the British outsider have not made the leap from political speeches to economic reality.”
Mr Steingart said the UK’s service sector is forecast to record its highest growth rate in 24 years in 2021 – despite all the doom-mongering from politicians following Brexit.
And, the German finally pointed to unemployment figures from Statista for March, which shows the proportion of people in the UK without a job at 4.8 percent compared to 6.2 percent in Germany.
He said: “Thanks to lower unemployment rates (see graphic), prosperity in Great Britain is likely to increase faster in 2021 than in Germany.”
In conclusion, Mr Steingart suggested there is no need for Germany to imitate what the UK is doing, but admitted: “The corpse is grinning at us”.
The German wrote: “We do not need to copy the British way, but we should understand it.
“The nation-state declared dead by many German politicians seems alive and kicking on the island.
“You get the feeling that the corpse is grinning at us.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.