German author says UK ‘waxing lyrical on freedom from EU’ shows how isolated Britain is

Annette Dittert, the London bureau chief and senior correspondent of the German public broadcaster ARD wrote the withering put-down in the New Statesman. Arguing that the “days of post-Brexit frivolity are well and truly over”, Ms Dittert blasted the UK’s criticism of Germany’s slowness to respond to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and called for unity in the West to combat Putin’s regime. The author went so far as to argue that the UK’s support was necessary in order to help Germany combat its own problems in providing help.

Germany’s decision to send weapons to aid Ukraine represented a major departure from historical foreign and military policy.

Having previously been lambasted for merely sending 5,000 helmets to help, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the powerful announcement that Berlin would be sending 1,000 anti-tank weapons and 500 Stinger anti-aircraft defence systems.

Germany also authorised the Netherlands to send Ukraine 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers and told Estonia to ship over its nine howitzers.

Ms Dittert wrote of the decision: “Germany has become a different country more or less overnight.

“It is hard to overestimate the scale of the change – initiated by a new chancellor who, just a few months back, had won a general election by standing as a Merkel-esque figure promising continuity, not radical shifts.

“Now, Merkel’s legacy, a policy of trying to tame Russia by tying it down with a tightly woven net of commercial deals, has been left in tatters.”

However, there remains a risk that Germany’s lethargy in providing aid has not entirely been shattered by Mr Scholz’s historical announcement.

Ms Dittert accused the Bundestag of simply listening to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, applauding and doing little to help.

In her piece, she described the result as a “symbolic moment” in which the appeal was “left to echo around the chamber unanswered” last week.

The writer believes that a “monumental guilt” hanging over Germany from the Second World War is the reason for lethargy in the face of military crises.

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She added: “Putin’s attack on Ukraine was, first and foremost, an attack on the principles of liberal democracy – principles that London still, just about, shares.”

Britain’s isolation from the EU was further exemplified, Ms Dittert writes, by Boris Johnson’s tone-deaf comparison between Ukrainian resistance and Brexiteers.

She added that the UK’s days of post-Brexit frivolity were over and that the assistance it was providing Ukraine evidences that it still cares about the wider West and must renew its alliance with the EU.

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