It is a day that will reverberate in Berlin, so the Chancellor rarely made a technical mistake in her almost 16-year term in office. And Angela Merkel has not yet done such a kowtowing. The tightened Easter lockdown that she surprisingly proposed at the federal-state consultations on Monday and then enforced was stopped after massive criticism.
At short notice, the Chancellor had called a new video link with the state heads of government at 11 a.m. “It was my mistake. I take full responsibility,” she said after Tagesspiegel information in the switch.
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Merkel also emphasized that when you head through the wall, the wall always wins. “It won’t be any different in my case”. Several prime ministers, including the North Rhine-Westphalian head of government and CDU leader Armin Laschet and Bavaria’s Markus Söder (CSU), paid Merkel their respects for admitting the mistake.
Laschet emphasized, according to Tagesspiegel information: “We all have to take this on. We supported this path and did not contradict it. ”It is right and necessary that politicians take up legitimate criticism from practice and correct wrong decisions. Schleswig-Holstein’s head of government Daniel Günther (CDU) also said it was good to take things back from time to time.
At 12:30 p.m. Angela Merkel appeared in front of the press for a short statement:
The Chancellor said in Berlin: The resolution, which has now been revised, is “only my fault” Merkel said on Wednesday in Berlin that she wanted to be responsible as Chancellor. She knows that “the entire process causes additional uncertainty”. “I deeply regret that, and for that I ask all citizens’ forgiveness.”
For Angela Merkel, it is the most critical moment in the pandemic
For Chancellor Angela Merkel, the stop is a heavy defeat. Negotiators from the federal and state levels had recently criticized the devastating picture to the outside world, they were surprised by the proposal on Monday evening in the marathon negotiations at the federal-state summit.
[Mehr zum Thema: Chaos um den Osterlockdown – Merkel droht eine Rebellion]
The MPK resolution stipulated that from April 1st to 5th inclusive, So from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday, public, private and economic life is largely shut down in order to break the third wave of the pandemic. But it quickly became clear that there were legal problems in converting Maundy Thursday into a “day of rest”.
“This is a giant clockwork that gets going”, it said from country circles with a view to the effects also for employers and employees, for example also on the question of whether they then have to pay holiday bonuses for employees who still have to work have to pay.
[Mehr zum Thema: Bund-Länder-Runde im Kanzleramt – Angela Merkels Osternacht, eine Rekonstruktion des Chaos-Gipfels]
Following the video call with the Prime Minister, which was called at short notice, the Chancellery announced a statement by the Chancellor that it was unclear whether a survey planned for 1 p.m. in the Bundestag could still take place.
For Merkel it is the most critical moment in her crisis management so far. After the Union had recently fallen due to dissatisfaction with the increasingly chaotic pandemic policy, the Chancellor is threatened with a bitter departure from office at the end of her almost 16-year term in office.
Harsh criticism in the Union of the Corona resolutions
Especially since the last Prime Minister’s Conference on Monday with the surprising Easter lockdown push led to deep rifts in the relationship with some state heads of government, who ultimately supported the push because of the strong spread of the mutant B.1.1.7. Even if some then admitted that an adjournment would have been better so that the plan could first be legally examined in peace.
Laschet, who is also aiming for the Union’s candidacy for chancellor, had already emphasized before the switch on Wednesday in the Düsseldorf state parliament that the most recent conference of prime ministers had disappointed the people. The heads of government had negotiated from 2 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Tuesday night. “We cannot go on like this,” said the CDU federal chairman.
Also in the meeting of the Union parliamentary group on Tuesday there was great displeasure with the decision, many now fear that they could lose their seats in the federal election on September 26 and that the Merkel era could also end the CDU / CSU’s reign .
MPK round with Angela Merkel: Easter lockdown was a spontaneous idea
“The trust ‘The CDU can crisis’ has been shaken. This trust had increased their support in the population a year ago, and the loss of this trust is now leading to their downfall ”, summarizes the demoscopist Renate Köcher from the Allensbach Institute in the“ Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung ”.
The idea of a tough Easter lockdown developed spontaneously during the negotiations on Monday, it was not in any paper. For two reasons: Merkel was initially unable to enforce curfews or the federal government to influence school and daycare closings if the incidences were too high.
In addition, Chancellor Merkel resisted what she saw as a fatal signal that some federal states wanted to enable “low-contact holidays” in holiday apartments and on campsites. Merkel emphasized that the mutant was unfortunately eating up previous successes. Second, there is still a lack of vaccine and sufficient rapid tests, so that time can be bought with the measure of the Easter lockdown.
The left, FDP and AfD called on the Chancellor in the early afternoon in the Bundestag in a government survey that happened to be scheduled for that day. to ask the vote of confidence to see whether she still has the backing of the coalition factions. Merkel did not go into the demands of a government survey, however.
In the evening she said on ARD: “No, I won’t do that.” It has never done it before, the opposition doubts whether it still has sufficient support from the Union and the SPD after this chaos and the constant anger about obtaining vaccines.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) paid Merkel his respect, as did many of her colleagues in office: “She did not decide that alone.” All Prime Ministers were responsible and had to apologize. “We’re sorry, I’m sorry too”.
Greens and demanded in the Bundestag that the Corona deliberations belong in the Bundestag and should not be held in a small, opaque circle.
The FDP calls for decisions in parliaments
The parliamentary manager of the FDP parliamentary group, Marco Buschmann, asks Merkel during the government survey: “When will you finally stop making decisions about the lives of millions of people in a small circle?” With deliberations and decisions in parliament, there would also be better solutions. You suggests conversations about how to work better. The consultations with the Prime Minister are still necessary because it is ultimately the task of the federal states to implement the Corona resolutions by ordinance. The day has shown: apology is one thing, but all problems are unsolved.
Green parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt reminds of the great unsolved problem: “The third wave is rolling, but we need a breakwater”.
And Merkel, too, emphasizes despite all the malice that there is: “Our opponent is the virus, nobody should forget that”.
Cracks in relation to citizens
Every day, if she looks at it, the Chancellor can see desperate people on the news in the evening, from hoteliers and restaurateurs on the North Sea islands to actors and musicians in Berlin, who have worked out concepts with a lot of creativity to deal with quick tests and Luca -Contact tracking app to test secured openings – and feel unheard of. Sure, Merkel has always been right with her course, is fighting the virus with her methods in accordance with her oath of office.
But is the method still the right one where the mood is shifting and the vaccine is far from being enough? What other possibilities of “living with the virus” are there? A clear majority supports tough measures – but many miss a differentiation and evaluation of what the previous ones bring. It’s a bit like being in an elevator. The Union went to the top with Merkel, in the first wave of the pandemic, communication and measures were often more understandable. Now the elevator is rushing down. Sometimes that’s politics. The next few weeks will show the image with which Merkel will resign after 16 years.