Habeck warns against hasty corona loosening

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Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck presents the federal government’s plans. © Kay Nietfeld/dpa

While the FDP is pushing for opening steps in the pandemic, Vice Chancellor Habeck wants to announce easing at the right time. Nevertheless, he sees “reason for cautious hope”.

Berlin – Like Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) does not yet see the conditions for easing the Corona crisis.

“Of course we need an opening perspective, but the easing must come at the right time,” said the Minister of Economics to the newspapers of the Funke media group. “The omicron wave hasn’t broken yet.” Scholz recently made a similar statement. The coalition partner FDP, on the other hand, is pushing for opening steps to be taken soon, and the rules are already being relaxed in some federal states.

Coordinate steps together

Habeck called for uniformity in the easing. “I think it’s important that we coordinate the individual steps, which comes first,” he said. “We have to see how the pandemic develops. In Germany we have a comparatively low vaccination rate, especially among the elderly population. But there is reason for cautious hope.”

The next top-level talks between the prime ministers and Scholz are scheduled for February 16. Nationwide easing could be agreed there. On January 24, the federal and state governments agreed to develop “opening perspectives” as soon as the health system could be overburdened. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) had repeatedly stated that the peak of the omicron wave in Germany would probably be reached in mid-February.

Outlook on Corona help

Habeck assured that the Corona economic aid would be made available “as long as it is necessary”. So far, the aid is limited to the end of March. The federal government wants to check whether they will be extended. “Should it be necessary to extend it again to ensure the survival of hard-hit companies, then we will do so and the necessary funds will be available,” assured Habeck.

When asked whether the aid could be granted beyond the current year, Habeck said: “The bridging aid will be made available for as long as it is needed. It’s like the fire department. We will remain willing to intervene for a long time to come. We will not pay out money permanently – but we will always be ready to jump.” dpa


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