Status: 24.03.2021 2:03 p.m.
Chancellor Merkel has withdrawn the decision to rest on Easter. Too many questions could not have been resolved in such a short time. The Chancellor took sole responsibility and asked for forgiveness.
The tightened lockdown over Easter is not coming: Chancellor Merkel has withdrawn the federal-state decision on this. The idea was designed with the best of intentions, she said. Too many questions, from continued payment of wages to the situation in shops and companies, could not have been resolved in the short time that would have been necessary.
“This mistake is solely my mistake,” said Merkel. As Chancellor, she wants to take responsibility for it. A mistake must be named as such and, above all, corrected – “and if possible, it has to be done in good time.” The whole process triggered additional uncertainty. “I deeply regret that, and for that I ask all citizens’ forgiveness.”
Angela Merkel, CDU, Federal Chancellor, on the withdrawal of the Easter lockdown
Tagesschau 12:00 p.m., March 24th, 2021
“Will Defeat The Virus”
She regrets her mistake all the more now that Germany is in a third wave of pandemics, the Chancellor said. The federal-state resolutions also offer such a good framework in the fight against the pandemic. “I am deeply convinced that we will defeat the virus together.”
The Chancellor had previously informed the Prime Ministers of her decision in a conference scheduled at short notice. She also informed the parliamentary group leaders in the Bundestag.
Support from the country leaders
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet said after the meeting of the heads of government in the state parliament in Düsseldorf that all prime ministers had to take responsibility for the decision. The CDU chairman said they had agreed to the decision to rest on Easter. After that, however, it became clear: “You can’t just introduce a public holiday within ten days.”
The Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer also took the Chancellor under protection. “I think you don’t have to take responsibility for it. This decision was made jointly by 16 prime ministers and the federal government,” he said. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann said with a view to the withdrawal that he wanted to “once again pay my great respect for this initiative to the Chancellor.”
Lindner and Bartsch demand a vote of confidence
Sharp criticism, however, came from the opposition. FDP leader Christian Lindner and left parliamentary group leader Dietmar Bartsch called on Merkel to put the vote of confidence in the Bundestag. “The Chancellor can no longer be sure of the unanimous support of her coalition,” wrote Lindner on Twitter. “A vote of confidence in the German Bundestag would be advisable in order to check the ability of the Merkel government to act.”
Bartsch spoke to the newspapers of the Funke media group of “dilettantism” in the Chancellery. There is now “a veritable crisis of confidence in the country’s political leadership”.
AfD: “Chaos is perfect”
AfD parliamentary group leader Alice Weidel criticized Merkel taking responsibility, but nobody knows what this responsibility looks like. “The chaos is perfect. Yesterday like this, today different, nobody knows what applies,” she said. The decision shows a “bunker mentality” of the Chancellor who, with her “entourage”, has moved away from ordinary citizens and the world of work.
The Greens in the Bundestag declared that they would not join the demands for the vote of confidence. “The virus cannot be stopped by populist campaign games such as the vote of confidence,” said parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt. With a view to withdrawing the Easter rest, she said: “Admitting a mistake deserves respect.” However, there remains an even deeper crisis of confidence. “The government’s corona crisis management has failed.”
Criticism of the resolutions
After the resolutions of the Bund-Länder-Round on Tuesday night, massive criticism of the Easter rest had become loud. There was also resentment that despite almost twelve hours of consultation, the implementation of key points was still open.
It was planned that the Thursday and Saturday rest days should be similar to Sundays or public holidays. On Maundy Thursday the entire economic life should be able to rest, on Holy Saturday only the food trade in the narrower sense should be able to open.