The German States Defend Relaxation Against Merkel

Several German prime ministers have resisted Chancellor Angela Merkel’s criticism and threats over what she sees as a lax application of corona measures.


Merkel threatened in an interview Sunday evening with federal intervention and a total lockdown throughout the country. She wanted to enforce that earlier, from April 1 to April 5, but she had to swallow it last week after a storm of protest.

Merkel’s regional prime ministers and party members held talks on Monday and are sticking to their relaxation. They argue that it is better to allow gradual and local easing with corona tests and the initiated vaccination campaign, preventing people from breaking the rules and secretly living their own social lives. The virus is, therefore, easier to trace.

Among the prime ministers at the concert were Armin Laschet of North Rhine-Westphalia, Daniel Günther of Schleswig-Holstein and Tobias Hans of Saarland. They have promised to ease but, Merkel says, should return to that, as the country is experiencing a third wave of the coronavirus. The number of infections is generally higher than the maximum number agreed to withdraw corona restrictions.

Much German media criticized Merkel’s threat of a “hammer lockdown”, and the Tageszeitung ruled that the Chancellor is threatening without a real plan. But according to Merkel, it can no longer be done like this. The federal states must “pull the emergency brake”; otherwise, the federal government will have to intervene.

Combating the coronavirus and the restrictions imposed on the population is primarily a matter for Germany’s federal states. Merkel intends to change this via the Bundestag so that the fight against the virus becomes an exclusive matter for the federal government.

The Prime Ministers and the Chancellor regularly consult together about what restrictions they are going to impose or withdraw. According to critics, this deliberation is not even legally competent to impose so many far-reaching violations of fundamental rights, and it sidelined the representatives of the people.

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