The traffic light parties have agreed on a joint draft law that sets new guard rails in the fight against the corona pandemic. The 3-G rule is to apply uniformly at the workplace in the future. The discussion about the correct corona policy in the federal and state governments is far from over. The most important questions at a glance.
With the planned new regulations, is a Prime Minister’s Conference with the participation of the Executive Chancellor off the table?
No, such a meeting may even be more likely with the agreement of the traffic light parties. The new Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst (CDU), who holds the rotating chairmanship of the Prime Minister’s Conference, is aiming for such a federal-state meeting in the coming week. “We have already lost a lot of time, the corona situation is worsening in parts of Germany day by day,” said Wüst on Tuesday in Düsseldorf. He now stated “readiness on all sides” for such a meeting. Berlin’s Governing Mayor Michael Müller (SPD) had previously said that it was “necessary, and I also assume that we will meet again in the course of the next week”.
Hamburg’s red-green Senate, however, still considers a federal-state meeting to be superfluous. There are reservations in the traffic light groups in the Bundestag. They want to avoid that powerful Prime Ministers of the Union together with the executive government under Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) impose stricter restrictions on the Bundestag. With the new law, the states would have the opportunity to adopt the necessary measures, it is said. The executive federal government could not play the role of bringing about further regulations.
Which further restrictions are being discussed?
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and other Union politicians are calling for a nationwide uniform 2-G regulation, as are a number of doctors’ representatives. A number of federal states such as Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin and Brandenburg are currently in the process of converting some areas of public life to only granting access to those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered with appropriate evidence. Saxony, which has the highest incidences and the lowest vaccination rates nationwide, already greatly expanded its use on Monday, for example to the interior of restaurants. The Minister of Health of Schleswig-Holstein, on the other hand, the FDP politician Heiner Garg, does not consider 2-G rules to be sensible. 3-G models, i.e. also granting access to those who have tested negative, are the better approach. He does not believe in further massively increasing the pressure on non-vaccinated people. Hessen is also sticking to 3G, but in future it will require significantly more reliable, more expensive PCR tests as evidence.
Which arguments are given for and against 2-G rules?
Proponents such as Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) or the acting Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) point to the rapidly increasing number of infections and the already high exposure to intensive care units. Opponents counter that the situation in the countries is very different and in the north, for example, where the vaccination rates are highest, the conditions are much more relaxed. But that could change in a few weeks, argue 2-G advocates. They also hope for greater acceptance of uniform national regulations. State governments see the advantage that they do not have to take on political responsibility for every tightening of the rules, but can refer to the joint decision of the prime ministers and the executive federal government. AfD boss Tino Chrupalla called the transition to 2-G rules “catastrophic”. These would divide society. His party is suing 2-G and 3-G rules in several countries.
Will there be a general compulsory vaccination in the end?
Unlikely, there have been no prominent advocates of this in politics across the Bundestag parliamentary groups or in the federal states. That could possibly change as the public mood shifts. According to a new Forsa survey on behalf of RTL and n-tv, 53 percent of those surveyed are in favor of a general vaccination requirement, 46 are against. In August, only 33 percent of those questioned had spoken out in favor of compulsory vaccination.
But the calls for mandatory immunization for certain occupational groups, especially those employed in old people’s and nursing homes, are getting louder. The Diakonie calls for nationwide vaccination for staff in health and care facilities. The health policy spokespersons and specialist politicians of the SPD and the Greens, Sabine Dittmar and Maria Klein-Schmeink, do not rule this out. Her FDP colleague Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus considers such an obligation “not necessary”. The Liberals warn that this could drive even more people out of the care professions, where there is already a shortage of staff. Opponents of compulsory vaccination rely on mandatory daily tests of staff and visitors in care facilities, as these are inevitable due to the increasing number of infections, including those of vaccinated people, and offer the greatest possible protection for people who are particularly at risk.
What else is planned to fight the pandemic?
There is agreement between Chancellery Minister Helge Braun (CDU) and Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) to the health policy spokeswoman for the traffic light parliamentary groups of the SPD, FDP and the Greens on the importance of booster vaccinations. These refreshments for all those who received the second vaccination more than six months ago, or who received a one-time vaccination with the preparation from Johnson & Johnson, are to be accelerated. A vaccination summit is planned on Friday to discuss this. Braun spoke of up to 20 million booster vaccinations by Christmas.