Ursula von der leyen hails from ‘closest thing EU has to aristocracy’ | World | News

A new study found 26 percent of people in Germany believe European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, is to blame for the EU‘s vaccine fiasco. The decision to shift responsibility for the vaccination procurement to the EU has left member states lagging far behind Britain’s rollout. The UK has provided a first jab to more than 58.2 percent of its adult population, whereas Germany is stuck at 12 percent.

In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, German MEP Gunnar Beck commented on the Infratest Dimap poll, saying he was not surprised.

He explained: “German people are waking up to the incompetent policies of the EU and the role played by failed politician Ursula von der Leyen during the coronavirus crisis.

“The mood is gradually changing in Germany and I hope this will lead to the EU finally being held to account by voters across Europe.”

As the EU chief continues to face increasing scrutiny, a political commentator and Anglo-German historian has shed light on her past.

Katja Hoywer argued Ms von der Leyen hails “from the closest thing the European Union has to an aristocracy”.

She explained: “Her father, Ernst Albrecht, was the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)’s minister president of Lower Saxony as well as one of the EU’s first civil servants.”

Mr Albrecht initially served as the Chef de Cabinet to the European Commissioner for Competition Hans von der Groeben in the Hallstein Commission, and in 1967, at the age of 37, he became the Director-General of the Directorate-General for Competition.

Ms Hoywer added: “His young daughter seemed unsure of what she wanted from her future.

“She studied at four different universities, switching between archaeology, economics and medicine.”

In 1978, the historian claimed, Ms von der Leyen enrolled at the London School of Economics, living under the pseudonym Rose Ladson and the protection of Scotland Yard.

She added: “Her father — who nearly became Chancellor after receiving the backing of the future German leader Helmut Kohl — had been told that the Red Army Faction was planning to kidnap his then 19-year-old daughter.”

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Reminiscing about her time in London, Ms von der Leyen is quoted as saying: “I lived much more than I studied.”

She then reached her political nadir in 2018 when even Mrs Merkel was ready to drop her erstwhile ally as the CDU’s defence policy came under ever more intense scrutiny.

But there was a lifeline from Brussels, Ms Hoywer noted.

She added in her piece for The Spectator: “Tellingly, von der Leyen announced her resignation as defence minister before her appointment as President of the European Commission was confirmed.

“The fact that Merkel abstained from voting on her nomination shows just how toxic her former deputy had become.”

During her time as defence minister, Ms von der Leyen faced more than one scandal.

The German army has faced a shortage of equipment for years, but the situation became so precarious in 2014 that some soldiers had to take matters into their own hands.

Bundeswehr troops tried to hide their lack of arms by replacing heavy machine guns with broomsticks during a NATO exercise

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After painting the wooden sticks black, the German soldiers attached them to the top of armoured vehicles, according to a confidential army report which was leaked to German broadcaster ARD.

A defence ministry spokesperson said the use of broomsticks was not a common practice, and that the decision of the involved soldiers was “hard to comprehend”.

According to the ministry, the armoured vehicles were also not supposed to be armed.

It is not clear how many broomsticks were substituted for machine guns.

However, the revelation came at the worst possible moment for Ms von der Leyen.

The same day, the Ukrainian army suffered a defeat at the hands of pro-Russian rebels in the town of Debaltseve, putting a renewed focus on the question of whether Europe’s NATO allies would be able to manage the crisis militarily – without American intervention.

Moreover, just a few months before she quit as defence minister in 2019, US officials found that German forces had been using mobile phones during a NATO exercise because of a lack of encrypted radio equipment.

At the same time, the Bundeswehr was forced to scrap its standard issue assault rifles when it was discovered they didn’t shoot straight in temperatures above 30°C.

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