BERLIN. “I will not stand by until we have 100,000 infected a day.” After last week’s historic mea culpa on the failed Easter squeeze, Angela Merkel last night chose one of the most watched TV programs, Anne Will, to send an unequivocal message. If the governors do not adopt the stricter restrictions imposed by the rules on incidence, the chancellor will have the power to do so.
The Minister of the Interior, Horst Seehofer (Csu) gave her support very closely, in an interview published a few hours later in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The rules should be unitary, he stressed, and decided at the federal level. For the executive and no longer the conference with the governors to decide “what should happen in the event of a certain incidence”, it would be enough to change the current anti-covid law or write a new one.
Coronavirus in Germany, turnaround Merkel: “On the lockdown at Easter my mistake, I apologize to the citizens”
by our correspondent Tonia Mastrobuoni
In essence, the government could write the details of the restrictions directly in the anti-covid laws instead of referring to agreements with the lands. For the former governor of Bavaria it would also be preferable to seal the decisions with a parliamentary vote rather than with the now usual conference with the lands. But perhaps he should be reminded that the Bundesrat is the parliament of the regions.
Meanwhile, until she sees concrete signs of a repentance by the “aperturist” regional prime ministers, Merkel will not reconvene a meeting with them to decide how to reshape the restrictions: “I am opposed to a conference with the land in these days”. The next is scheduled for April 12, but the Chancellor has hinted that she will act sooner, and independently, if there is no more faithful adherence of the lands to the rules established so far. In short, in the federalism rigorously adopted so far to govern the pandemic, something seems to have jammed.
Moreover, his veiled threat to centralize powers to fight the pandemic is a clear slap in the face of the current president of the CDU, Armin Laschet. And it undoubtedly damages his run for candidacy for the chancellery. The governor of North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the three – the others are the prime minister of Berlin and the Saar – who did not immediately apply stricter rules when the incidence per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days has exceeded the alarm threshold. of 100 infected. It is no coincidence that Markus Soeder, governor of Bavaria and Laschet’s rival in the race to post-Merkel, immediately agreed with the chancellor. The leader of the CSU has been among the most severe governors in the application of anti-covid restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic. And the leader of the CSU told the Tagesthemens that he had nothing against a greater centralization of powers to the detriment of the lands. Another jab at Laschet.
Those of the ‘aperturists’ are unforgivable hesitations, for the chancellor, who has long warned that Germany is now overwhelmed by the third wave of the pandemic and that three quarters of the infected are now infected with the British variant, “more contagious and deadly”, according to Merkel. Even the 100,000 infected a day is a scenario that scares her a lot, and it was the president of the Robert Koch Institute, Lothar Wieler, who dreaded it, if she does not act quickly to break the third wave.
Laschet replied to them in the closed-door meeting of the leaders of the CDU on Monday morning, defending his choice to allow the shops to remain open, subject to reservation and a negative buffer from customers. But the Chancellor is not at all convinced that this easing of restrictions, even with all caution, can prevent a new peak of infected.