Retrospect on Germany: Weekend, 9-10 May 2020

by Thorsten Koch

Union: 40 percent approval rate

According to pollster Forsa, the approval ratings for the two Union parties, CDU and CSU, are back at 40 percent – plus 2 percent compared to the previous week. Last time that level was reached dates back three years. The SPD loses two percentage points, the Greens – both parties are at 15 percent of approval – gain 1 percentage point. The Left achieves 7 percent (plus 1 percent), the FDP with 6 percent and the AfD with 10 percent reach unchanged results.

Scholz wants to promote the economy, sees limits

Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) finds that the limits of the state’s financial resilience have been reached. “We will not be able to solve all problems with tax money alone,” Scholz told the Tagesspiegel. He fully agreed with his predecessor Wolfgang Schäuble (CDU). Schäuble had said that the state could not permanently replace sales. Scholze responded to calls for billions in aid, and scrapping premiums for the auto industry. “It is important to ensure that companies can persevere, that jobs are preserved, that things can start again soon,” said Scholz. He expects the German debt ratio to climb from less than 60 percent of economic output to more than 75 percent. By the end of the last financial crisis, it had been higher than 80 percent. According to the Union parliamentary group, in 2020, the tax revenue of the federal, state and local governments will decrease by at least 100 billion Euros due to the Corona pandemic.

Stoltenberg: Germany secures peace within NATO

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg fears that without the multilateral agreement on participation within NATO, more countries would strive for their own nuclear weapons. Germany’s contribution to nuclear participation means securing peace and freedom, Stoltenberg wrote in a guest contribution for the FAZ. The NATO agreement is as important today as it has always been, according to Stoltenberg. “We are facing the most difficult security environment in decades,” he writes.
The SPD parliamentary group leader, Rolf Mützenich, defended himself against splitting the SPD through his recent advances in defense policy. These are held up to him in his party, because he had asked to withdraw all US nuclear weapons from Germany. Defense policy spokesman for the SPD parliamentary group, Fritz Felgentreu, interprets Mützenich’s recent advances as a grip on leadership, he told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS).

Altmeier would like to fund facial masks

Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) said this weekend that May there would see a funding program for machines for national and European manufacture of certified mouth and nose protection, in the context of the corona crisis. The state wants to pay up to 30 percent. According to Altmaier, a production capacity of around 2.5 billion protective masks needs to be built up each year. “A so-called sprinter program is starting this month, with which we want to promote machines that are available at short notice for the national and European production of certified masks,” said Altmaier in the newspapers of the Funke media group. A program to promote the production of filter fleece had started on May 1st already. The Federal Minister expects several billion protective masks to be produced annually. In this context, Altmeier emphasized that the mandatory mask requirement in public spaces continues to make sense.

RKI: Corona reproduction rate at 1.1

The reproductive rate in the corona pandemic in Germany has once again exceeded the critical value of one. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the rate is 1.1. It indicates how many people are infected on average by an infected person. The RKI had repeatedly said that it had to be below 1 for the pandemic to abate. The value had been estimated at 0.83 on Friday and 0.65 on Wednesday. In view of statistical fluctuations and the relatively small number of infected people, it is not yet clear whether the number of cases will actually increase again, according to the RKI in its daily management report. Due to the increase in the R value, current and short-term developments must be kept in mind over the next days.
According to an overview by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the vast majority of counties in Germany are currently well below the upper limit for new corona infections set by the federal and state governments. However, in three circles this level is exceeded, albeit with few cases: Greiz in Thuringia, Coesfeld in North Rhine-Westphalia and Steinburg in Schleswig-Holstein. There are still a few regions that are just below the limit.

EU infringement proceedings against Germany?

EU Commission chairwoman Ursula von der Leyen may be considering infringement proceedings against Germany. It does so according to a statement by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), which is committed to the common European legal order after the German Federal Constitutional Court opposed the ECJ. The Federal Constitutional Court had negated the ECB’s massive purchase of bonds. Von der Leyen: “On the basis of this knowledge, we examine possible next steps up to an infringement procedure.” The ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court raised questions that touched upon the core of European sovereignty, von der Leyen wrote in a letter to the European Parliament. EU law takes precedence over national law and is nationally binding.

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