The economy is reacting positively to the withdrawal of the rest days at Easter, and there is great respect for Merkel’s decision. Was the auto summit decisive for your decision?
Germany’s companies and trade associations are relieved on the withdrawal of the so-called “rest days” at Easter. At the same time, observers from political Berlin are discussing behind closed doors how great the influence of the car summit on Tuesday evening was on the decision of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Employer President Rainer Dulger praised the declaration by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) to withdraw the decision on Easter rest as a “courageous decision”. “There is no blueprint for managing this crisis,” said Dulger on Wednesday in Berlin. “I have all the more respect for the fact that the Chancellor has withdrawn the decision. The Chancellor’s courageous decision proves her leadership.”
Anton Börner, President of the Federal Association of Wholesale, Foreign Trade, and Services made a similar statement. “Better a horror with an end than the other way around,” he said. “It was brave to admit this wrong decision and to correct it in a timely manner.”
The foreign trade association BGA and the Central Association of German Crafts are also made easier. Its president, Peter Wollseifer, said in an initial reaction: “That is the right decision! The fact that the Chancellor made it so quickly and personally when she took over the responsibility deserves great respect.”
Legal hurdles of the idea underestimated
Previously, Merkel and the country chiefs had agreed on Wednesday morning in a short-term video link to withdraw the decision on an Easter break in the corona pandemic, which was only made on Tuesday night. The heads of the federal and state governments apparently underestimated the legal hurdles when making the decision. Merkel then vacated in front of the press and in the Bundestag acknowledged her mistake and apologized to the public.
Merkel explained the process, among other things, with legal difficulties. The background to this is that the “rest day” would have required a legal adjustment at the level of the 16 federal states, as they are responsible for regulating public holidays in Germany.
However, in addition to legal issues, economic pressure may also have played a role. In response to the decision of the federal and state governments, numerous business associations ran a storm against the idea of two short-term rest days.
Was the auto summit decisive?
On Tuesday, the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among other things, pointed out numerous problems in a position paper that was circulated in Berlin and is available to t-online. “Production companies often work in a network and it is not possible to switch off production in industry at such short notice,” it says. “Even construction site operators who have ordered their screed and it is being delivered cannot use it as planned, which leads to additional costs.”
In this context, it is rumored more than out loud that the auto industry, which is important for Germany’s economy, could have thrown its weight into the scales: On Tuesday evening, the bosses of the major manufacturers exchanged regularly with Chancellor Merkel at the so-called auto summit.
In addition to questions about the future of the industry, the short deadline, the planned Easter lockdown and its consequences, was also an issue. If Merkel had pushed through her original idea of two Sunday-like rest days, this would have had potentially serious consequences for the production chains and compliance with supply contracts. “Sudden shutdowns are not feasible for an internationally networked economy,” said the President of the Association of the German Automobile Industry, Hildegard Müller, on the Tuesday after the summit.
Accordingly, she expressed herself positively on Wednesday. “Admitting a mistake is a sign of greatness,” said Müller. “The federal government and the prime ministers are in an extremely difficult position.” The country must now stand together and look for solutions, not for mistakes in others.