“Merkel did not want to harm me”


Will the schools be closed after Easter? Laschet cannot rule this out with “Lanz” – nationwide. Lanz still wants to know: Does Merkel want a candidate for Chancellor Söder? Laschet shrugs his shoulders: “Then it is so.”

The guests

  • Armin Laschet, CDU party leader, NRW Prime Minister

  • Boris Palmer (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen), Lord Mayor of Tübingen

  • Carola Holzner, senior physician in the emergency room at Essen University Hospital

  • Helene Bubrowski, editor of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”

For some guests, ZDF could also relocate Markus Lanz’s talk show to the backdrop of a “SOKO” interrogation room. Lights off, spot on, time for cross-examination. The moderator made a name for himself in the Corona crisis with unpleasant questions and persistent research. For CDU party leader Armin Laschet, things turned out to be sticky on Tuesday evening. Lanz was relentlessly on the hunt for the confession: Yes, Chancellor Angela Merkel deliberately exposed me to “Anne Will” and actually doesn’t want me to be a candidate for chancellor of the Union. Laschet preferred to talk about the fight against Corona and had bad news for parents and students.

They almost went under in the midst of Lanz’s barrage work-up of Merkel’s appearance at Will. The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister had just announced with a view to the schools: “If things continue like this, there will be compulsory tests.” The Essen emergency doctor, Carola Holzner, asked if the schools would not have to be closed. “As of today, I can’t definitely say that they’ll open after the holidays. We’ll have to deal with that very carefully,” disappointed Laschet, the mother of elementary school students. Because, in contrast to the situation last year, children are now much more at risk from the mutants.

Laschet: Nationwide school closings possible

The next bad news: In contrast to the current patchwork of corona rules, these school closings could actually apply across the country. “The education ministers speak, so do the health ministers. And if so, we need a Germany-wide regulation that applies to everyone,” demanded Laschet. “If we do it, it has to apply everywhere. The children are not less or more at risk in another federal state.” Unfortunately, nobody asked why in this special case the risk situation should suddenly be so uniform from Flensburg to the Alps. “The school year was over”, commented the Mayor of Tübingen, Boris Palmer.

With regard to the vaccine for Astrazeneca for under 60-year-olds, the Green politician criticized: “We don’t deal with risks properly, we don’t weigh them up properly.” The coronavirus is more dangerous than any available vaccine. This also includes Palmer’s not yet approved mRNA serum from CureVac, with which he was immunized as a test subject. He demanded that the millions of available vaccine doses of the Tübingen company should be released for volunteers before the official approval. “Why are people forbidden to use a vaccine that has excellent data because the bureaucrats have two more months to check?” Asked the Green politician. “People can weigh up themselves.”

“Here I am with you,” said Laschet, a little surprisingly, since he had spoken out in favor of careful testing of vaccines. In the case of Astrazeneca, however, the state is obliged to provide people from the higher risk group, such as kindergarten teachers, with a safe vaccine: “You cannot tell the woman: Yes, please, is your risk. That is going too far for me.” In doing so, he countered Markus Söder (CSU), who had turned the Astrazeneca vaccination on Monday into a kind of test of courage and said: “Those who dare should also have the opportunity.”

Laschet’s competitor for the Union’s candidacy for chancellor was omnipresent on the ZDF talk show. But Lanz mostly avoided calling him by name – almost as if the Bavarian Prime Minister was a villain from “Harry Potter”. Why did Merkel not denounce the CSU boss at “Anne Will”, but instead criticized the lack of an emergency brake in North Rhine-Westphalia? Lanz wanted to know from his guest. He insisted that the moderator interpreted too much in Merkel’s words.

Laschet defends Merkel

“We have such a good relationship of trust. I am sure she did not want to cause any damage,” said Laschet. He and Merkel agree that now is not the time for opening discussions. In NRW, the emergency brake is pulled if the incidence is appropriate. Visits to shops with a previous corona test are only possible as part of the test strategy. But that’s exactly what Merkel didn’t like, Lanz interjected, and demanded to know: Has Merkel damaged Laschet? “I don’t feel that way,” he replied. “I was not happy. But in such a pandemic, in such a crisis, there has to be a different accent on a small detail between a CDU boss and a chancellor.”

He found clearer words for Söder’s swipe after Merkel’s talk show appearance, why she and Laschet have to fight six months before the general election. “I find it completely inappropriate to play any partisan games or taunts around this pandemic,” Laschet sent in the direction of Munich. All prime ministers would do their best. “Everyone strives for his country. He doesn’t need any instruction from others. That’s how it is.” However, this rebuke could also have been addressed to Merkel.

Laschet also defended the Chancellor when it came to the state of the country after 16 years of Merkel’s government. The condition is not good, as became clear in the pandemic, he said, but reiterated that Merkel has done a good job. Laschet also did not give the anti-corona fight a good report. “We have to get better,” said the CDU chief. “It has not been going well for weeks,” he said, referring to vaccine procurement, the test jam and the “unspeakable Mallorca decision”. The decision to no longer declare the holiday island a corona risk area and thus trigger a run on Mallorca flights before Easter, Laschet chalked up alongside Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) and Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU). There was a lack of “sensitivity” to wait until after Easter to downgrade Mallorca in view of the domestic travel bans and then to reassess the situation: “This problem was underestimated.”

Lanz made no secret of his opinion that Laschet, for his part, fails to recognize that Merkel may already have written him off. The moderator pointed out how surprisingly conflict-free the relationship between the Chancellery and the Bavarian State Chancellery has become. “Markus Söder is now suddenly the man at your side,” provoked Lanz at halfway through the show. Laschet had already fled his fighting spirit during the long-term interrogation: “Yes, that’s how it is.”

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Merkel harm


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