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“Mr. Lauterbach, you are completely losing your credibility”

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Many problems have been brewing in the last few days. The war in Ukraine with all its consequences, the controversial lifting of almost all corona measures on March 20: When the federal and state governments meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on Thursday, there is a gap between the participants , which is by no means simply meant along party lines.

The fact that the chairman of the conference of prime ministers, the head of government of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst (CDU), can only follow the ostracism of his colleagues on the screen is just one of the curiosities. Wüst had tested positive for Corona on a trip abroad in Israel and monitored the conference from a hotel in Jerusalem.

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At least that fits the theme. The future of the Corona measures was originally intended to be discussed here. But the traffic light factions SPD, Greens and FDP have already submitted their “basic protection” plan to the Bundestag, which clearly bears the FDP’s signature. It should be decided on Friday.

Not only the Prime Ministers of the Union see this as an affront because now they can hardly change anything. Despite the higher number of infections in this pandemic, most corona containment measures will be phased out from Sunday.

So there will be no access restrictions with 2G or 3G regulations, including mask requirements in supermarkets or other indoor areas. The mask should only remain mandatory in clinics, nursing homes and on local public transport.

Countries want more indoor mask requirements

Many countries have already decided to use a transition period in the new Infection Protection Law, which allows them to maintain existing measures until at least April 2. After that, each state parliament must decide whether to apply stricter hotspot regulations to regions with particularly high incidences.

The bill does not state what a hot spot is. Experience has shown that such vagueness is an open door for administrative courts.

And so Scholz and Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) have to listen to the discontent concentrated in the switchboard according to information from the Tagesspiegel, both in the process and in the matter. “The federal and state governments have worked together successfully for two years, now the federal government is withdrawing,” Thuringian Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) complains, according to participants.

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Even the angry SPD heads of government

Lower Saxony SPD Prime Minister Stephan Weil said: “I don’t think that’s justifiable.”

Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) complained: “There has never been such a way of dealing with the states.” States would be deprived of almost all options. Hessian Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) calls the process “simply indescribable.” There was no prior cooperation with the federal states.

“Here, two years of travel completes itself,” said Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU).

In particular, he confronts the Minister of Health who anxiously tweets: “Mr Lauterbach, warn, warn, warn, and now give up everything. They are completely losing their credibility.” Indeed, it is hard to overlook the fact that Lauterbach bowed to pressure from Justice Minister Marco Buschmann (FDP) when the two were drafting the legislative package.

16 protocol statements, officially just says: Discussed topic

There is also massive opposition from the SPD countries. According to the participants, the Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, said in the video link that it was very frustrating that a simple measure like the mask was abolished. That was against expert advice and wrong. But Scholz simply lets the chorus of criticism fade: “Thanks for the discussion.”

The receipt: all 16 (!) federal states make declarations in the act that they do not agree with the envisaged procedure. In the results log, all problems are simply ignored. In the Corona agenda item, it is simply emphasized: “The topic was discussed.”

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Connected from Israel due to corona infection: NRW Prime Minister Hendrik WüstPhoto: dpa

Next big construction site: the influx of Ukraine

When it comes to Ukraine, dealing with refugees is becoming more and more urgent. The Union side insists on a flat rate of 670 euros for each reported war refugee from Ukraine. To clarify funding issues, a federal-state working group will develop a proposal for the next meeting, no later than April 7, as agreed upon at the meeting.

“In particular, the issues of housing costs, subsistence support costs and individual service delivery issues, help for particularly vulnerable groups, and issues of federal participation in the costs of integration in child care, school and market Labor must be negotiated and, as a result, a global financing concept will be developed”, it said in the previously developed template.

To get an overview of who is coming and how many, there should also be a more systematic record. People fleeing at the EU’s external border, most of them in Poland, are registered, as are those who pick them up there.

In Germany, however, such a system does not yet exist at major train stations, which should prevent defenseless women and children from falling into the hands of human traffickers and the illegal sex industry. the group now declared essential to “register those who arrive quickly and easily”.

Anyone who stays in Germany must register with the central alien register, and the federal government wants to support this with personnel and material through the federal police, for example. In addition, more sick and injured people from Ukraine will be treated in Germany and distributed to hospitals across the country using the “cloverleaf procedure” that has proven effective in the pandemic.

Merz warns against uncontrolled entry

CDU leader Friedrich Merz, in particular, never tires of warning that many citizens of other countries or from Russia or Belarus might also enter the country on purpose. Among the refugees from Ukraine there are “a large number of refugees who did not come from Ukraine at all, but who now also went to Germany via this route.” There is no evidence or concrete evidence of this as of yet.

Meanwhile, the Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser (SPD), defends herself against criticism from the Union that she has been inactive for too long. The federal government took steps to register as soon as possible, she says. But since Ukrainians in the EU are visa-free for 90 days, people can also travel to another EU country during this time. It is clear that the next great potential for conflict lies in this whole issue, and Chancellor Scholz’s traffic light coalition will face difficult weeks.


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