Absolutely we should feel gratified’ German mocks Britain over Brexit and supply woes
Brexit: EU 'exploited UK weakness' to push deal
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The piece entitled ‘Schadenfreude is okay’ was written by Antje Lang-Lendorff for Taz. Discussing the idea of empty shelves in supermarkets, fish rotting in warehouses and soldiers forced to deliver petrol, the weekend editor at Taz says: “The statement by the British government that these are just starting difficulties on the way to a great independent future does not sound very convincing in view of the problems.”
Adding to what she thinks caused the problem, Ms Lang-Lendorff wrote: “I think it’s your own fault, you have that from your Brexit! You really asked for it.”
However, the author then goes on to address the concept of schadenfreude – the notion of feeling bad about the misery of others.
Dr. Lea Bocker, from the Institute of Management and Organisation at the University of Luneberg, says: “The social psychologist researches the topic of malicious pleasure. If an accident does not just happen to someone, but is the result of a decision made by oneself, then that promotes malicious joy.”
Ms Lang-Lendorff used this comparison to examine Brexit, writing: “In the case of Brexit, that applies at least to the Government and half the population who vote to leave.
“The idea of a united Europe is something very valuable, Boris Johnson and Co have said goodbye to it.
“In that sense, it feels kind of fair that they are now suffering the damage.
‘Take back control’ was the Brexit slogan, the opposite is now the case.”
The report went on to sharply criticise the lack of low-skilled labour in the country, claiming many people voted for Brexit as they “no longer wanted to let so many Eastern Europeans from the EU into the country, let alone refugees.”
Another European paper labelled the UK as “The Kingdom of the Empty Shelves” in another attempt to mock Britain, with Liberation adding its thoughts on Brexit as “The future that failed to deliver”.
However, the shortage of low-skilled and manual labour workers is not confined to the UK, and appears to be a European wide issue.
According to a report in the New Statesman, Germany is also suffering from a lack of drivers in their own logistical supply chain.
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With Germany itself short of 45,000 to 60,000 HGV drivers, and France seeing around 43,000 vacancies needing to be filled, the problem is wider than some may care to admit.
Frank Moreels, the President of the European Transport Workers Federation, said: “The driver shortage is a long-time European problem, when we look at the numbers for 2020, 2019 or even 2018, we see that there was already a shortage.”
Before the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem was also not affecting the UK in a disproportionate manner.
In 2019, 24 percent of lorry driver positions in the UK were unfilled, compared to 22 percent in Poland, 21 percent in the Czech Republic and 20 percent in Spain.
Europe has also experienced a severe shortage of gas, with the EU relying more heavily on Russia for natural gas supplies arriving prior to a cold winter.
France have had to place bets on more domestic nuclear power plants in the future to avoid shortages of their own.
With prices rocketing over the last few weeks, many EU nations have had to dig into the financial coffers in order to subsidise the fuel prices caused by the supply shortage.
The Europe wide shortage is results of a rapid movement in pay, yet no offers to improve working conditions.
With such a problem, it is not hard to see why many drivers are avoiding working in such roles, and evidently, this has nothing to do with Brexit.
Ms Lang-Lendorff concludes her article: “It would be great if the British would reconsider Brexit. A new referendum at some point, why not? Together we could be stronger, and nicer to each other. Then there would be empathy, instead of malicious joy.”
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