Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the widespread debate over the harsh anti-corona measures and warned against populism. “Critical debate does not weaken democracy, it strengthens it,” said the CDU politician in her government statement in the Bundestag in Berlin on Thursday. The debate was at times very emotional and Merkel’s speech by AfD MPs was disrupted several times by unrest.
But she also warned, “Soothing wishful thinking and populist trivialization would not only be unrealistic. It would be irresponsible. And further: “Lies and disinformation, conspiracies and hatred are not only hurting the democratic debate, but also the fight against the virus. “
Merkel defended the tightening of the corona rules with the prime ministers on Wednesday. “The actions we are taking now are appropriate, necessary and proportionate. If we, dear colleagues, were to wait until the intensive care units were full, it would be too late. ‘
On Wednesday, Merkel and the federal prime ministers decided on new contact restrictions and decided that restaurants should close again and hotels should no longer accept tourists.
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AfD members initially disrupted Merkel’s speech with an unusually high number of interjections. They think the resolutions are excessive and inappropriate. After a little less than ten minutes, Bundestag president Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU) took the floor and asked for an opinion after the government statement. No one would understand if Merkel’s statements were not listened to with due discipline.
Schäuble himself was disturbed by unrest, then said, “If you interrupt the president, you will immediately get phone calls to order, that’s dangerous,” Schäuble warned. “Our country as well as the whole world and especially Europe are in an extremely difficult situation,” said the CDU politician and asked to listen.
Merkel described the corona situation in Germany as dramatic. In recent weeks, the number of new infections has “skyrocketed,” she said. Many health authorities are at the limit. “At the start of the cold season, we are in a dramatic situation. It affects us all. Without exception. ‘The Chancellor said,’ The winter will be difficult. Four long, difficult months. But it will end “
Merkel called on citizens to remain cautious and show solidarity in the Corona crisis. It depends on each individual as well as on everyone’s commitment, persistence and consideration, she said. The pandemic is testing society in several ways: medical, political, economic and social. Only together and for each other will you get through this difficult crisis.
AfD party leader Alexander Gauland demanded that the Bundestag take a decision on all measures against the corona pandemic. Gauland accused the federal government of “war propaganda”. The daily “number of contamination bombings” should scare people. “A Corona dictatorship on revocation is incompatible with our free and democratic basic order,” he said after Merkel’s statement. Germany achieved its freedom with too much effort “to be handed over to the wardrobe of an emergency cupboard”.
Gauland called for more differentiated measures, such as special protection for risk groups through separate shopping hours. People for whom the coronavirus is not so dangerous should not be banned, he said. At this point, many people were paying a high price that would not have done anything wrong. “We have to make a trade-off”, Gauland emphasized, “also at the expense of people’s deaths”.
The union leader Ralph Brinkhaus has defended the federal government against the charge of dominating parliament in the Corona crisis. “Yes, we have a separation of powers,” said the CDU politician. Parliamentarianism and democracy worked. In many debates, legislative initiatives and budget decisions, the Bundestag has set the framework for what the government can do. “It is not the job of the German Bundestag to decide whether 10 or 15 people meet,” said Brinkhaus. “That is the job of the executive.” Law enforcement is also a task for the states, not the federal government.
“It is of course the case that fundamental rights and freedom are limited,” said Brinkhaus. It’s also important to question this over and over again. “Freedom is not only the freedom of the strong and the young,” he warned. “Freedom is also always the freedom of the weak and of others.” For example, errors in dealing with the economy could be corrected. “The death of a person, the death of a close relative is irreversible.” “Your predecessors would have been ashamed of it,” said Brinkhaus. (dpa, teaspoon)