New corona rules for the country: “The traffic lights work before they exist”

Before the start of the coalition negotiations, the SPD, Greens and FDP agreed on a new catalog of corona measures. The Länder decide which of these are used. From the FDP’s point of view, the agreement is remarkable.

It’s not just about what is being proclaimed here today, but also about who is proclaiming it: the SPD, Greens and FDP have agreed not to extend the “epidemic of national importance” that has been in force since March 2020. The controversial paragraph 28a, paragraph 1 of the Infection Protection Act will be “legal history” from November 25th, says FDP parliamentary group manager Marco Buschmann in a joint press conference with SPD parliamentary group vice-president Dirk Wiese and the green parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt. 28a, paragraph 1 lists a number of controversial anti-corona measures.

The content is at least as important here as the frame. As a member of the grand coalition, the SPD supported all extensions of the epidemic situation; Initially, the corresponding resolutions of the Bundestag were valid for an unlimited period. Since March 2021, the “continuation of the epidemic situation of national scope” has to be resolved anew every three months, otherwise the corona measures will expire.

In June, the Greens also agreed to the extension at that time. The FDP, on the other hand, had already terminated the initial corona consensus in April 2020. So you come from different directions. And yet: Even before the actual traffic light coalition negotiations began, the three parties agreed on the main features of a new regulation.

“School closings, lockdowns and curfews will no longer exist with us”

SPD man Wiese expressly thanks the other two present “for the really very trusting and good cooperation”. Göring-Eckardt also says that the discussions were “very trusting, factual and focused on the matter.” “The traffic lights work before they exist.” Buschmann says the discussions were “very professional and very pleasant”. He calls the agreement “remarkable” because dealing with the epidemic situation of national importance has been one of the most controversial issues in recent years. The fact that the three parties have managed to come to an agreement here is “a good sign for democracy”.

Wiese emphasizes, “School closings, lockdowns and curfews will no longer exist with us”. November 25th is not supposed to be “Freedom Day” either – measures should continue until March. Buschmann also points out that none of the three claims that the danger is over. “We expressly do not send this signal.”

“We put an instrument box on the table for the federal states so that they can act depending on the infection situation,” says Göring-Eckardt, describing the procedure. The previous measures are “no longer necessary and from our point of view also disproportionate,” says Wiese.

Spahn Ministry wants to provide support

Buschmann emphasizes that the Corona policy initiative is back where it belongs: in parliament. The agreement could also “contribute to the pacification of a poisoned debate”. In addition, all measures should end “by the beginning of spring on March 20 at the latest” – provided that no dangerous mutations or other unexpected problems occur by then.

Part of the agreement is a continuation of the simplified access to basic security as well as the special regulations for parents when their children take sick days. The “less intervention-intensive measures” of the instrument box for the federal states include a mask requirement, the decision on a 2G or 3G rule as well as distance requirements in public spaces. The data basis for future Corona decisions is to be improved. “We have long since moved away from simply looking at the number of infections,” said Buschmann.

The question of whether the three had the feeling that Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn was with them his approach Want to drive a wedge between the traffic light parties, Buschmann denies: “At no point did I get the impression that anyone could drive a wedge between us.”

The Bundestag should decide on the new regulation on November 11th, i.e. in the first regular week of session of this legislative period. The Federal Council would have to give its approval in a special meeting before November 24th. The “constructive parliamentary groups” in the Bundestag should be involved in the drafting of the specific bill, as Buschmann says. A spokesman for Health Minister Spahn has already assured the ministry’s support.

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