In a post-ballot press conference, the Social Democrat leader was challenged on whether Germany could help the UK emerge from its shortage of lorry
In a post-ballot press conference, the Social Democrat leader was challenged on whether Germany could help the UK emerge from its shortage of lorry drivers. The pro-Brussels candidate, who is tipped to become the next German Chancellor, said the country’s woes were a consequence of its divorce from the European Union. Mr Scholz told reporters: “The free movement of labour is part of the European Union.
“We worked very hard to convince the British not to leave the Union.
“Now they decided different and I hope they will manage the problems coming from that.”
But he also suggested that the shortage of HGV drivers in the UK could also be blamed on poor working conditions and low pay.
“It might have something to do with the question of wages,” Mr Scholz said.
“If you understand that being a trucker is really something that may people like to be and you find not enough, this has something to do with working conditions and this is something that has to be thought about.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was earlier said to be considering bringing in army drivers to help deliver much-needed supplies to petrol stations across the UK.
Many were forced to shut their doors after running dry during a weekend of panic-buying from motorists keen to top up their vehicles.
Mr Johnson has announced that 5,000 foreign lorry drivers would be allowed into the country in an attempt to ease the delays in supplying petrol stations.
But Cabinet ministers are concerned that a Europe-wide shortage of HGV drivers means that few will take advantage of the relaxed visa rules.
Germany is facing its own lorry driver shortage in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
A recent analysis by Transport Intelligence found that the EU’s largest economy is missing between 45,000 to 60,000 HGV drivers.
The International Road Transport Union has warned the shortfall is expected to jump to 185,000 by 2027.
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The pair have both predicted that the wrangling would be concluded by Christmas, but experts have suggested that they were likely to drag on into early 2022.
Across the country, the SPD won 25.8 percent of the vote, while Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, received a combined 24.1 percent.
The Greens came third on 14.6 percent, followed by the FDP on 11.5 percent.
Right-wing eurosceptics Alternative for Germany finished on 10.4 percent.