Tuesday, November 16, 2021
For certain professional groups
Scholz: Debate about compulsory vaccination “is correct”
The designated Chancellor Scholz does not speak out clearly in favor of compulsory vaccination. However, the SPD politician advocates a debate about mandatory requirements for certain professional groups. He announced that such a decision could be made at short notice.
SPD Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz supports a debate about compulsory corona vaccination for certain professional groups such as those working in nursing homes. “I think it is right that we have now started a discussion about whether this should be done,” said the executive vice chancellor at the economic summit of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. Just talking about it is a clear statement – the SPD, Greens and FDP have deliberately opened this debate. The Chancellor-designate was also optimistic about the coalition negotiations and the financing of upcoming tasks.
Scholz said at the event that compulsory vaccination for certain professional groups is only possible if there is a consensus that “many want to participate”. “When that is achieved, I think that’s a good thing,” he said. Such a decision could also be made at short notice. The Greens had also announced that possible future government partners wanted to talk about compulsory vaccination for employees in nursing homes, for example.
The trade union for education and science (GEW) rejects compulsory vaccination for certain professional groups, as the union chairman Maike Finnern in the editorial network Germany (RND) emphasized. The chairwoman of the Rhineland-Palatinate family doctors’ association, Barbara Römer, called for medical staff to be vaccinated. “People think they are protected in the medical field, and then unvaccinated people jump around,” said Römer, explaining the reasons.
Reform of the Infection Protection Act
However, the topic is not part of the reform of the Infection Protection Act, which is to be decided this week. The Bundestag is due to vote on the change in the law on Thursday. On the same day, the Executive Chancellor Angela Merkel of the CDU consulted with the Prime Ministers of the federal states about a uniform approach. A special meeting of the Federal Council on changes to the Infection Protection Act is planned for Friday. According to the plans of the desired traffic light coalition, the federal states should also be able to restrict contacts and prohibit leisure events in the future.
A 3G rule is also planned for local and long-distance public transport. Only people with proof of vaccination, convalescence or test will then be allowed to ride. Exit or travel restrictions as well as general closings of schools, shops or restaurants should no longer be possible after the epidemic expires on November 25th. Union parliamentary group Vice Thorsten Frei considers the measures planned by the traffic light parties to be inadequate. “There is still a lack of important elements such as the possibility for the federal states to determine the epidemic situation at state level or the definition of clear criteria for the measures to be taken,” criticized the CDU politician in the “Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung”.
In contrast, the Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate, Malu Dreyer, welcomed the fact that the states’ legal options for fighting pandemics are to be expanded. The SPD politician told the RND that the countries would have to be able to access a wide range of instruments in the future too, in order to be able to react quickly, especially in corona hotspots. Dreyer also defended restrictions on unvaccinated people. Vaccinated people contribute less to the infection process and they also have a much lower risk of becoming seriously ill and bottlenecks in the intensive care units. “It is therefore logical, from the point of view of infection, to assess people with vaccination protection differently than without vaccination protection.” The Rhineland-Palatinate Council of Ministers is today dealing with the tightening of the corona rules.
Bund-Länder meeting on Thursday
Saxony’s Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer expects the federal-state meeting to adopt a uniform approach. “We have to send a strong joint signal on Thursday that the situation is very threatening,” said the CDU politician on ARD. Since the beginning of last week, Saxony was the first federal state to enact comprehensive 2G rules, which in many areas only provide access for those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered. Kretschmer also considers this to be necessary nationwide – there is nothing else to do.
The incumbent Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn also warned on ZDF that uniform resolutions were necessary for acceptance by the citizens. Spahn spoke on ARD and ZDF of a week of decisions.
The chief executive of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, Gerd Landsberg, expects a “quick strategy for booster vaccination” from the Prime Minister’s Conference. In the “Rheinische Post”, Landsberg called on Chancellor Merkel and her potential successor Scholz to appear together.
“The executive chancellor would have to go public with the likely future chancellor and explain the drama of the situation and the absolute necessity of vaccination,” said Landsberg. As an incentive for more corona vaccinations, practice doctors will also receive significantly higher payments from Tuesday: Instead of the previous 20 euros, it is now 28 euros per vaccination and 36 euros on weekends, as a new ordinance of the Federal Ministry of Health stipulates. The increased remuneration also applies on public holidays, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Scholz: Ampel creates financing for the tasks
In addition, with regard to the traffic light coalition with the FDP and the Greens, Scholz was optimistic that the three-party alliance can also finance the upcoming tasks. The finance minister said that there are very favorable framework conditions with increasing tax revenues. “We can expect very extraordinary growth in the next few years,” he said.
Germany is also emerging from the corona pandemic with a lower debt ratio than after the financial crisis. “We will quickly lower our debt ratio again.” In this respect, a traffic light coalition of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP could manage to finance all tasks that would have to be paid for from public funds. The largest part is anyway private-sector investments. “It’s about the right setting.”
Scholz expressed confidence that the traffic light parties could quickly form a coalition. “Everything is going very, very well, very constructively,” he said after the first day of the main negotiation round. “The pace is good”. The mood among the three parties would even suggest that, as in the 1960s, you could only write a three-way coalition agreement and then get going. “But we will already describe many pages,” he said, referring to the ongoing work on the coalition agreement.