At “Maybrit Illner” the future traffic light ministers Robert Habeck and Volker Wissing will be grilled by journalists with a view to their corona policy. Habeck switches to attack, gets loud – and admits only a few mistakes.
Big excuses and tough attacks: At “Maybrit Illner”, the future traffic light ministers Robert Habeck (Greens, designated Vice Chancellor and Economics Minister) and Volker Wissing (FDP, designated transport minister) had a heated battle with CDU MPs Norbert Röttgen and Journalists delivered. The topic: the devastating situation in the Corona crisis. The new traffic light government is already being accused of having failed to fight the pandemic.
“We are in a political transition phase”, justified Robert Habeck. It is not easy for the coming federal government to make the right decisions. The apparatus and the knowledge base are not yet available. He didn’t even see the inside of his upcoming ministry. “But you have to expect that from the outgoing government. They still get money for it, they still have to work.” Habeck admits, however, that the old government lacked majorities. “It is easy for the virus to spread during this phase.”
Habeck’s explanation for the hesitation of the coalition still and future in view of the worsening corona crisis? “We are lazy beings,” said Habeck. Politicians, too, are ultimately people – and to be the bearers of bad news, “that will not be rewarded with success”. Politicians owe it to choose the mildest means to see the needs of children, cultural workers and other industries and not to take harsh measures such as a lockdown lightly.
Spiegel editor Christiane Hoffmann objected vehemently. “It’s not about indolence,” she said. Political leadership means not turning a blind eye to an uncomfortable situation – but rather acting. Hoffmann also refused to accept the argument that the opposition party had not had enough insight. Enough experts would have warned loudly. “To say in retrospect: You didn’t know – that also shocks me as a citizen.”
Habeck admitted: Of course one could have known what effect a vaccination rate of 70 percent would have in winter. “You have to admit that it is an eyesore on German politics that we walked into it like that.” But there is “eternal hesitation”. The same prime ministers who complained that the epidemic emergency could not be allowed to run out, allowed the big carnival celebrations. What is meant here is the Laschet successor and new NRW Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU).
Moderator Maybrit Illner confronted FDP leader Volker Wissing with previous statements from his party that there will never be a compulsory vaccination with the Liberals. Facility-related – as is now being planned for nursing homes and hospitals – this is a possibility, said Wissing. To then distract: But more important is the boosting. Here the incumbent federal government failed, there was not enough vaccine available.
The upcoming Vice Chancellor announced little concrete further steps: “If we have a vaccination rate of less than 75 percent, the delta variant will always overburden the health system. Again and again,” said Habeck. If the willingness to get vaccinated remains so low, action must be taken. However, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) constantly makes wrong decisions.
CDU politician Norbert Röttgen accused Habeck of not being able to pretend that he had been in the “valley of the unsuspecting” for two years. There are recommendations from the Robert Koch Institute, there are expert assessments that are accessible to all politicians. The announced crisis team is not the magic bullet that could end the pandemic.
Habeck switched to attack, got loud. He accused Röttgen of being dishonest, and of making Röttgen the “opposition clown” here. Illner also recalled how hard Chancellor Angela Merkel had to fight regularly to enforce tougher measures. Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz (SPD) has so far missed any clear and tough course in the crisis.
Journalist Henrike Roßbach warned that one is in a political cycle that urgently needs to be broken: One is now avoiding a general vaccination requirement – because other measures are necessary to break through the acute emergency. In a few months it will be too late for compulsory vaccination again. Spiegel editor Hoffmann also agreed: “Leading too late” is fatal and leads into a vicious circle.
As Minister of Economic Affairs, does Habeck absolutely want to avoid a lockdown, postpone the bad news? No, stressed Habeck, at this point he was no longer convinced that business could be left open. But he quickly distracted from the subject.
He emphasized: If there is a lockdown, there will be economic aid for companies again. The crisis team planned by the traffic light should ensure that the pandemic business is accompanied on a daily basis, that no one is resting and that a surprising decision is not suddenly made every few weeks.