The past few days have been political dynamite for Chancellor Merkel. Now she faced the MPs in the Bundestag – clear criticism came from the AfD and FDP.
The situation in Germany is coming to a head: the number of corona cases is increasing, the vaccinations are not progressing fast enough, the federal government withdrew the planned rest days at Easter on Wednesday. Now Chancellor Angela Merkel answered the questions of the MPs – shortly after their historic apology.
Your most important statements at a glance:
- Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) sees avoiding thousands more deaths from Covid-19 as a key goal in the coming weeks of the pandemic in Germany. “If the question of how we proceed now, the Easter lockdown has only found a really positive response from the intensive care physicians, then you see how great the concern is there,” she said. “And it will no longer be 90-year-olds who are in the hospitals. They will be 50, 60 and 70 year olds. And these are people with a very long life expectancy. “
- According to expert estimates, ten percent of them would Corona long-term consequences carry away. “That means it is worth fighting for everyone so that they do not get the infection,” said Merkel. “And that is our common task. With as much freedom as possible for everyone, with as much normality as possible for everyone. But also with as much consideration as possible to ensure that thousands of people don’t have to die.” Merkel emphasized: “That must be the goal for the next few weeks.”
- The She has municipalities too encouraged more creativity in dealing with the corona pandemic. “No mayor or district administrator is barred from doing what is being done in Tübingen and Rostock,” said Merkel. The two cities in Baden-Württemberg and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are considered exemplary in their strategy for coping with pandemics.
- With a view to the test strategy, the Chancellor also demanded more commitment in the federal states. The federal government cannot provide the test infrastructure for 40,000 schools in Germany. Berlin likes to help, the Bundeswehr also likes to help, but here it is the turn of the federal states.
- Merkel expressly called on the citizens to do so, from now on to make use of existing free test offers. “The best test offers are of no use if they are not taken.” Testing is the “bridge” on the way until a vaccination effect can be seen. “The more we test, the less we have to restrict.”
- Companies in Germany called the Chancellor to regular testing of your employees on. If this does not do the majority of the companies, the federal government will proceed “regulatory”. And by the “predominant part” they mean a quota of over 90 percent, said Merkel. The government will monitor this closely over the next few days and make a decision after Easter. Testing is the crucial bridge to vaccination.
- With regard to the vaccinations in Europe, Merkel pointed out that it was not the question of orders that was a problem, but rather that Production of the vaccine within the EU. Another important point is the supply of the world with vaccines, said Merkel. If it is not possible to vaccinate worldwide, further mutants could develop against which the existing vaccines may no longer work.
- Merkel has it common European way defended against criticism in the fight against the corona pandemic. “Despite all the troubles, I believe that the pandemic has shown again that it is good that we have this European Union,” said Merkel. She also explicitly mentioned the procurement of vaccines. “It was right to rely on the joint procurement and approval of vaccines by the European Union.” When you see that big discussions break out even with small differences in distribution, she doesn’t want to imagine what would happen if individual EU countries had vaccines and others didn’t. “That would shake the foundations of the internal market,” said Merkel.
Criticism of Merkel’s pandemic course came from several MPs. The AfD in the Bundestag has strictly rejected the European way of fighting the corona pandemic. “The EU is unable to procure vaccine and organize vaccination in the member states,” said AfD parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland. “The lesson of the Corona crisis is: Centralism is cumbersome, inflexible and has a chaotic effect. Decentralization is the order of the day.”
Gauland also applied this to the vaccines. “It is in the German interest that the citizens of this country are vaccinated first.” This has nothing to do with vaccination nationalism, but happens “out of the same matter of course with which everyone first thinks about the health of their family”.
Lindner: Before every summit, Merkel should make a government declaration
The FDP chairman Christian Lindner has advertised a new course in combating the corona pandemic. The federal government’s crisis policy should not deviate from the reality of people’s lives, said Lindner on Thursday in the Bundestag. Something fundamentally needs to change in the decision-making process as well. “Showdown situations, nocturnal meetings and spontaneous decisions” are not expedient.
Instead, before taking any decision on corona measures, Merkel must make a government statement and enable a parliamentary debate, Lindner demanded. He described the decision to withdraw the Easter rest period as correct. The Chancellor had “the strength and the size to revise a decision”.
“New start in pandemic policy”
Now a “restart in the pandemic policy” is appropriate in order not to gamble away the acceptance of the measures. “There should only be encroachments on freedom where they are really necessary.” With all health risks, it is important to take greater account of the social and economic consequences of the pandemic, said the FDP leader.
At the same time, the effectiveness of the measures to combat pandemic must be in the foreground. Instead of considering blanket travel bans, the focus must be on tests and vaccinations. It is also important to involve general practitioners and specialists more quickly in vaccinations.