BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – In the last hours of a disastrous week, Angela Merkel switched to attack. Resolutely and well sorted, the Chancellor spells out to the heads of government of the countries from Anne Will’s talk show chair exactly where they are violating the joint Corona resolutions. In particular, where they do not pull the “emergency brake” agreed on March 3, but are even experimenting with relaxation. “Where the impression is now created that we can still open something – that is not the order of the day at the moment,” she warns during her appearance on Sunday evening on ARD.
The Chancellor threatens, advertises, argues and does not stop at her own party colleagues. Where discussions behind closed doors are no longer enough to tighten the corona rate, Merkel is now putting public pressure on. NRW Prime Minister and CDU leader Armin Laschet certifies a violation of the emergency brake, albeit only after the interviewer asked again. Even if he’s not the only one.
The view of the Saarland, where Tobias Hans is also a CDU man, is piqued. He wants to open the entire country after Easter. Although, as Merkel emphasizes, the number of infections is not stable there. “So this is not the time to consider something like this now.” And a little more pointedly: “It may have been a very daring announcement.”
Berlin’s governing mayor Michael Mller of the SPD also gets his fat off: “I really don’t know now whether testing and strolling, as it is now called in Berlin, is the right answer to what is currently going on.”
Merkel accuses the state leaders of using the Bund-Lnder rounds for political games to their own advantage. “Do you know how I sometimes feel? That such a distribution of roles has developed: We already know that the Chancellery is strict, and that is why we can be a little bit looser.” Of course, that doesn’t apply to everyone, but it does sometimes. One cannot afford that when everyone has the same goal: “To get this country through the pandemic well.”
So what to do “I’m still thinking,” says Merkel. The last Monday – the messed up Bund-Lnder round – wasn’t forever. You notice a rethinking in the countries, if not enough yet. Merkel speaks out against an early new Prime Minister’s Conference, but emphasizes: “In any case, I will not watch that we have 100,000 infected people.”
Merkel suggests that the federal government could take action if the federal states should not take the necessary measures. “We now have to take the appropriate measures with great seriousness. And some federal states are doing this, others are not doing it yet.” If that does not happen “in the very foreseeable future”, she would have to think about how this could be regulated nationwide. She didn’t want to wait a fortnight. “This is my oath of office, this is my obligation.” One possibility is “to tackle the Infection Protection Act again and say very specifically what must happen in which case”.
However, Merkel also knows that she is dependent on the federal states, which at some point needs a majority in the Bundestag and Bundesrat for every resolution. But: “We are obliged by law to contain the infection process. And at the moment the containment is not there.”
The nightly Prime Minister’s conference from Monday to Tuesday, with the decision on Easter rest, which was then quickly withdrawn, was a “Zsur”, stressed Merkel. “It can’t just go on like this now, we meet every four weeks and continue doing the same thing.” Many prime ministers agree.
The Chancellor calls the gradual opening steps agreed at the beginning of March a compromise – “with good faith that the emergency brake will actually be implemented. If it is not implemented now, it is, so to speak, a violation of the decisions we have made.”
The previous resolutions with the prime minister had all the necessary instruments, emphasizes Merkel: stricter contact restrictions as well as exit restrictions, if necessary, and the obligation of employers to offer home offices wherever possible.
Merkel believes in the power of facts and data, she is considered a file eater. With all the will to fight a pandemic: “Not everyone is so illusion-free that this virus cannot be negotiated and that the situation is now serious.” The decision in autumn to counter the second wave was “a little delayed”, which took a lot of time and a lot of energy, as Merkel says. “And now with the third wave this is again becoming apparent”.
She was right with her warnings and forecasts about the Corona curve, even back in autumn. The “whole factual material” is known, says Merkel. “We have everything ready. The only question is: Do we come to the same conclusions?” The Prime Ministers./hrz/DP/mis have to answer that