Scramble for uniform corona rules: countries warn of disempowerment - violent criticism from FDP

Changes in the Infection Protection Act Scramble for uniform corona rules: countries warn of disempowerment - violent criticism from FDP

Chairs for the members of parliament, included in the plenary session in the German Bundestag

Chairs for the members of parliament, included in the plenary session in the German Bundestag. The federal states and the Bundestag are now on the train for the new infection protection law.

© Michael Kappeler / DPA

The federal government has put its proposals for a statutory corona emergency brake on the table. Now it is the turn of the federal states and the Bundestag. There are signs of a power struggle - and time is of the essence.

In the tug-of-war for nationwide uniform regulations against the third Corona-Wave there is clear criticism of the proposals of the federal government. While state politicians are warning of a state disempowerment, opposition factions consider the planned exit restrictions in particular to be problematic. The government faction SPD also expressed requests for improvement. There was initially no sign of an agreement on a joint draft on Sunday. There is not much time left for the federal government, parliamentary groups and states: the cabinet wants to get the legal requirements under way on Tuesday.

Because the federal states are inconsistently implementing measures against the third wave of infections and the infection situation is getting more and more out of control at the same time, the "emergency brake" should be enshrined in law. In counties with more than 100 weekly new infections per 100.000 inhabitants, easing would then have to be withdrawn. This would currently affect more than half of the districts in Germany. 

Restrictions on contacts and exit in conversation

The federal government wanted to lash down the details with the parliamentary groups and the federal states as early as possible at the weekend. In the wording aid that the German press agency is available, he proposes, among other things, exit restrictions from 21 p.m. to 5 a.m. There should be only a few exceptions, for example for medical emergencies or the way to work, but not for evening walks alone. A compulsory test is under discussion for schoolchildren. Schools should only close if the incidence is 200 or more on three consecutive days in a district.

Contacts could also be tightened. In the future, the following could apply everywhere again: A household may only meet with a maximum of one other person, excluding children, there may be a maximum of five people. And if the federal government is up to it, model projects with store openings for those tested in circles with high numbers of infections would have to be stopped.

According to information from the German Press Agency, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) again spoke out in favor of a consequent lockdown at the meeting of the Union faction leadership. The exponential growth in the number of infections must be broken. Union faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus was optimistic that the Bundestag can decide on the law this week. He also relies on the cooperation of the other parliamentary groups, who would have to agree to a two-thirds majority to shorten the deadline. 

A man with gray and white curly hair and rimless glasses sits on a podium in a dark blue suit and looks worried

Lindner: "Draft not approvable"

Several parliamentary groups, however, consider the federal government's proposals to be highly problematic. "The draft in its current version cannot be approved by the Free Democrats Group," wrote FDPGroup leader Christian Lindner to Merkel and Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU). The DPA has received the letter; the newspapers of the Funke media group had previously reported on it. The first parliamentary manager of the left-wing parliamentary group, Jan Korte, wrote to the Ministry of Health and the Interior: "The issue of curfews, in particular, is such a deep encroachment on the freedom of movement of citizens that cannot simply be decided en passant."

Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) demanded that the exit restrictions only apply from an incidence of 200. The FDP criticized them as disproportionate. "For example, a vaccinated couple's evening walk does not pose any risk of infection," said Lindner.

The SPD, the Greens and the Left advocate compulsory testing for companies: Companies should offer mandatory regular tests to employees who cannot work from home. In addition, home office and the wearing of medical masks at work would have to be mandatory, said Greens parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt the newspapers of the Funke media group. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) announced that he wanted to enforce mandatory testing for companies in the cabinet on Tuesday. 

Pistorius warns against the disempowerment of the countries

There is also dissent on the subject of schools. While Kretschmer demanded that the federal government should stay out of this, demanded Göring-Eckardt a tightening. From 100 new weekly infections per 100.000 inhabitants in a district, there must be alternating lessons and the daycare centers would have to switch to emergency care.

The FDP criticized the sole orientation towards the incidence value of 100. "A fluctuating number that is also only politically used is not suitable as a trigger for massive restrictions on freedom," said Lindner. Kretschmer called for an additional factor to be the efficiency of the health system. "From my point of view, this is a mandatory prerequisite for acceptance in the population."

Lower Saxony's Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) warned that the federal government had no expertise in crisis management or crisis communication. “That is why it would not be a good idea to disempower the countries now in the middle of the crisis. That would be a big mistake, "he told the" world ". The corona rules should also be regionally adapted to the infection rate in the future. Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) declared that the Lower Saxony regulations were "rather stricter and will remain so" anyway. The draft had to be revised anyway, the federal government lacked "the experiences made in the federal states over the past few months". 

Intensive care physicians demand quick action

The Prime Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Manuela Schwesig, on the other hand, supported the plans of the federal government. “We are open to changes in the law, we have long felt that certain restrictions and also instruments belong in a federal law. For example the exit restrictions, ”said the SPD politician to the broadcasters RTL and ntv. At the same time, however, there must be more support, for example for the catering industry. The SPD parliamentary group in the Bundestag also called for new aid programs.

The district council also sharply condemned the federal government's plans. “The present draft is a vote of no confidence in the federal states and municipalities,” said President Reinhard Sager to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “With this, the federal government is leaving the mode of joint crisis management and wants to order effective measures directly on site.” This would, for example, practically prevent “responsible model tests above an incidence of 100”.

Above all, intensive care physicians demanded that action be taken quickly. The situation is already "dramatic", said Gernot Marx, President of the German Interdisciplinary Association for Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine (DIVI), the ARD capital studio. Ideally, the law should come into force next week, "so that we can relieve the health system and especially the intensive care units again very quickly".

rw DPA