The future chancellor, the outgoing Merkel government and the federal states plan more restrictions on public life in the face of the rebound of the pandemic
The introduction of the compulsory vaccination on Germany it could be a matter of months. This is what the future federal chancellor, the Social Democrat, said this Tuesday Olaf Scholz, in an interview with the tabloid Picture newspaper, the most sold and read newspaper in the country. “My proposal is to introduce it at the beginning of February or at the beginning of March,” Scholz pointed out with his sights set on the vote required in the Bundestag to introduce that controversial measure, in a country where there are still important sectors of the population that refuse to be vaccinated against the coronavirus despite the numbers of new infections.
Scholz, who is expected to be inaugurated as chancellor next week with the votes of his party, of The Greens and of the Liberals of the FDP Under the so-called traffic light coalition, he has stressed that the measure must be discussed and voted on in the Bundestag. He has also opted to free the deputies from party discipline because it is a “matter of conscience.”
Scholz thus reverts to his promise prior to the elections last September not to introduce a mandatory vaccination against the coronavirus. The future chancellor reacts to the increasing voices calling for tougher measures to expand the vaccination quota in Germany, which currently stands at 79% of the population of legal age. States such as Bavaria or Saxony present, however, a vaccination of less than 70% and 60% respectively.
The SPD leader’s words come the same day that the outgoing government of Angela Merkel, his successor and the regional governments of the 16 federal states have held a emergency meeting to address new measures in the face of the increase in coronavirus infections. Despite the fact that the incidence accumulated for seven days fell slightly this Tuesday, it is still above 450 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
The authorities meeting this Tuesday did not make any specific decision, but agreed that they are necessary additional restrictions of public life to stop the chain of infections that has been pushing the health system to the limit in eastern and southern regions of Germany for weeks. Some of the measures put on the table are: the introduction of the so-called 2G rule for businesses and premises throughout the territory, which would mean that only people vaccinated and recovered from the virus they will be able to access those spaces; meeting restrictions for unvaccinated people, also in private spaces; limitation for holding public events, like Bundesliga matches, which may soon have to be held behind closed doors throughout Germany. Saxony’s Leipzig RB already had to play without an audience in their stadium last weekend.
Back of the Constitutional
This Tuesday a long-awaited judicial decision was also known in Germany: the Federal Constitutional Court endorsed restrictions on individual freedoms – such as movement, assembly or night curfew – introduced by Merkel’s government since the start of the pandemic.
The high court gives its approval to the call “emergency break“, a legal package that came into effect last April and until June, and that forced all federal states to enforce the restrictions on public life equally. The measure, promoted by Merkel herself, generated a wave of demands. The Constitutional Court considers that the restrictions were justified to protect public health and save lives.
This “emergency brake” was at the time put in doubt by the liberals of the FDP and also by some voices of the Greens, at that time in the opposition and now about to become part of the Government together with the social democrats of Olaf Scholz .