About Friedrich Merz’s outburst, authenticity and politics


Friedrich Merz on Tuesday in Eltville am Rhein
Image: Lucas Bäuml

With his outburst against the CDU “establishment”, did Friedrich Merz just call things by their names, as it should be in democracies? About a possibly very tactical use of indignation in politics.

Friedrich Merz has been criticized for being so angry about the postponement of the CDU party congress. How, it was asked, does he intend to campaign with those whom he now not only describes as the establishment of the party but also accuses him of conspirators against him? Why does he neither appreciate the epidemic circumstances of the decision nor the law that does not allow digital election of party leaders? Is he so much the center of the world himself?

The Mainz historian Andreas Rödder has an explanation for all of this. There are, he said in a discussion on “Phoenix”, of course these forces in the CDU who have reservations about Merz. Date issues are also actually questions of power. That is politics, Merz only speaks it out. For Rödder, a member of the CDU, his favorite candidate is simply a man of open words. From that point of view, Friedrich Merz was right when he spoke of back rooms. Compared to the “issues of the day”, Merz described this as normal politics.

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Doctors warn of a new lockdown

NEstablished doctors and virologists are warning of the consequences of a further lockdown in the corona crisis and instead are calling for a uniform warning system based on the model of a traffic light. Before the conference between Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Ministers of the federal states, which is likely to decide on further restrictions in public life, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (KBV) warned that a new lockdown would be nothing more than a “knee-jerk consequence” of increasing numbers of infections.

Containing the spread is an urgent political task, “but not at any price”. In the position paper of the KBV and some scientists it says about the consequences of the restrictions: “We are already experiencing the omission of other urgent medical treatments, serious side effects in children and adolescents due to social deprivation and breaks in educational and professional training courses, the decline of entire branches of the economy, many cultural institutions and an increasing social imbalance. “

The main goal now is to alleviate the severe course of the pandemic without causing new damage. In Germany there could be an “acceptance and credibility problem” if regulations were contradictory, illogical, incomprehensible or overridden by the courts. There is no uniform scientific basis for evaluating the course of the pandemic based on the number of new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days and, as has been done so far, to derive restrictions.

The paper, which will be presented on Wednesday in Berlin by, among others, the Bonn virologist Hendrik Streeck and his Hamburg colleague Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, suggests a “Corona traffic light” instead. It would indicate the risk situation according to nationwide uniform criteria. And feed on “all relevant key figures”, including the tests carried out or the inpatient and intensive care treatment capacities.

The signatories of the paper are convinced that “fighting a pandemic will no longer be possible solely within the scope of contact person tracking”. Instead, politics, medicine and the public should concentrate on better protecting the risk groups.

Specifically, it is about allowing visitors to retirement homes, nursing homes and clinics in a lock model only after a negative Covid-19 rapid test. The staff must also be tested regularly. The guiding principle must be: “Promotion and evaluation of hygiene concepts instead of curfews.”

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“Red alert” demo of the event industry

Dhe doctors as a studio band in the daily topics – the performance last Friday caused quite a stir. The trio was of course not (or at least not only) in the studio because of their album that was released on October 23rd. The conversation was also about the Corona-related difficult situation in the concert industry. Organizers, tour crews, the many different service providers who work around shows and of course also artists who are (still) far away from the commercial success of the doctors and who lack the most important source of income and promotion opportunity without concerts.

Benjamin Fischer

Roland Kaiser took on this role on Wednesday morning: “I hear more and more frequently that colleagues want to say goodbye to the industry entirely,” said the hit star at the press conference in the run-up to the second demonstration of the “Red Alert” alliance in Berlin. He is afraid for the many partners with whom he works on tours and for the younger artists who have no financial cushion, says Kaiser. And if many companies did not survive this crisis, “then we no longer have a temporary break in play, but a problem that goes far beyond what is now conceivable.”

Industry without prospects

Behind “Red Alert” are the major associations in the event industry, including the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV), the Famab Communication Association of stand builders, event companies and marketing agencies or the representation of showmen and market traders. According to the alliance, the widely ramified German event industry with a turnover of 130 billion euros and more than one million direct employees is the sixth largest branch of the economy in the country.

Schlager singer Roland Kaiser at the press conference


Schlager singer Roland Kaiser at the press conference
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Image: dpa

The demonstration march should go through the government district to the Brandenburg Gate on Wednesday. From 1 p.m. onwards, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will consult with the Prime Ministers of the federal states via video conference on further restrictions on public life, which, of course, are also likely to affect the activities of the event industry again.

But much has not been possible since March, says Jens Michow, the executive president of the BDKV. There have been various events over the course of the summer, from drive-in theater concerts to picnic blanket shows. But with hygiene measures, distance and the resulting greatly reduced ticket contingent, these are mere “occupational therapy”, as Michow put it several times in the past few weeks: at least a few orders for service providers and performance opportunities for artists, but hardly economical for organizers.

Participants in the demonstration in Berlin


Participants in the demonstration in Berlin
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Image: dpa

In autumn and winter, larger open airs are hardly an option anymore. The hygiene concepts in the various venues allow a few spectators. The extent to which cultural events, for example, will still be allowed when the number of infections continues to rise is questionable.

“The existing aids are not a perfect fit for us,” Michow said in an interview with the FAZ. “They are designed for companies that have to bridge a few months with no income. Our branch of industry has been in a practical lockdown since March with no income whatsoever and we have no prospects for the future either. “

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Laschet calls for an “effective corona brake”

Dhe North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) expressed alarm about the current pandemic dynamics shortly before the federal-state talks on Wednesday. The situation is “very, very serious,” said Laschet on Tuesday evening in Düsseldorf. “The measures currently in force are not sufficient to stop the trend.” With a view to the discussions between the country leaders and Chancellor Merkel on Wednesday, Laschet said that “a political course is needed to stop developments.”

Wednesday is a “crucial day” in fighting pandemic. There must be a strong response from the Prime Ministers and the Chancellor. Germany is in a phase in which “we need an effective Corona brake, not half-heartedly, but consistently with a clear time limit”. The federal and state governments would have to agree on rules that people understand. “There must be a strong joint response from the 16 countries tomorrow.” It is important to ensure the greatest possible health protection for the population without imposing a second lockdown. “Because the consequences would be damage to the children’s educational opportunities and economic damage that would exceed those from the spring.”

You need “different tools and ideas to meet the whole range of challenges that the pandemic poses.” Laschet spoke out in favor of a strict ban on contact, as in the spring, and it had proven to be effective after a few days the number of new infections has decreased. Each individual must now help to contain the virus and follow the rules in solidarity. Laschet pointed out that the vast majority of infections arise from private contacts, among friends and acquaintances. That is why he calls on citizens to drastically reduce their social contacts and to cancel all celebrations in November.

A lockdown with far-reaching restrictions on all public life should be avoided. Education and the economy should not be restricted. “There is a lot at stake if we want to prevent the lockdown, if we want to prevent the collapse of the economy, if we want to prevent the loss of many jobs, then we must now work together to achieve this great solidarity.” If we succeed, ourselves To concentrate in November, one could go into December in a “still crisis-ridden, but more relaxed Advent and Christmas season,” said Laschet. “Achieving this goal requires every effort”. November is the “month of decision”. Laschet said: “The school lessons, the educational opportunities of the children, the day-care center care deserve that all other areas help so that there is no further damage to children through weeks of absence from school and day-care centers.”

Laschet rejected a one-week corona lockdown for Germany that was brought up by the deputy CDU federal chairman Thomas Stobl. Rather, the goal must be that – as with the drastic measures in March – the daycare children, schoolchildren, families and economic life are not the ones to suffer again, said the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister. “I think a complete lockdown for a few days has all the damage just described in an increased manner. And nobody can guarantee that after seven days the situation will be better, ”said Laschet, who is also deputy CDU head of the federal government. “That’s why I think slowing down in November is more targeted than such a measure.”

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When do you get rich in Germany?

Home life

Homeowners tend to be richer.

(Foto: Westend61/Getty Images)

Berlin The others are always rich. This misperception prevails with many German citizens. The best known example is Friedrich Merz. The CDU politician did not describe himself as rich despite an income of millions, but only counted among the “upper middle class”.

But not only Merz is wealthy, but many more Germans than they think. Anyone with a net worth of 477,200 euros belongs to the richest ten percent of the population. Anyone who has paid off a reasonably decent house in a good residential area can count themselves to the rich in the country.

And those who have saved the relatively manageable sum of 67,000 euros already belong to the richest half of Germans. This is the result of a study by the Institut der Deutschen Wirtschaft (IW), which evaluated data from the Federal Statistical Office.

Often the cliché prevails that the top ten percent only include the super-rich, such as owners of large companies, top managers or athletes. However, very few consider themselves to be the well-off. Surveys show that hardly any of the wealthiest households fit into this category.

The IW study does away with these prejudices. Study author Judith Niehues says: “The top ten percent are by no means just made up of millionaires.”

Property owners save more

According to the study, the relationship constellation in which one lives is particularly beneficial for prosperity: singles and single parents who have saved 20,000 euros on the high edge are exactly in the middle of the wealth distribution. For couples living together, this is only the case from 151,000 euros. “Couples are more likely to decide to buy a house, especially if they also have children,” says Niehues.

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New infections increase – stricter rules threaten

Convenience store

The number of nine infections in Germany has recently skyrocketed.

(Foto: Getty Images)

Berlin In front of the top CDU bodies, Angela Merkel warned again on Monday of a loss of control in the corona pandemic. “The situation is threatening,” said the Chancellor. Obviously, the measures taken so far are not sufficient, every day now counts.

The “Bild” newspaper first reported on Merkel’s statements, which were confirmed to the Handelsblatt from party circles. It was the latest warning from the Chancellor, who had sworn the country to difficult months in her podcast.

Merkel is likely to adopt a similar tone in her government statement in the Bundestag on Thursday. In addition, she wants to discuss the next steps in a video conference with the heads of government of the federal states this Wednesday. After this week, is Germany facing a lockdown like in the spring?

The federal and state governments want to avoid this scenario in any case. But the steeper the curve of new infections shoots up, the greater the political pressure. The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach said that the number of infections could be so high in a few weeks that there would then be no alternative to tough exit restrictions such as in spring. The number of new infections reported to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) recently regularly exceeded the mark of 10,000 cases within 24 hours.

Criticism of government strategy

When evaluating the threat situation, politicians orientate themselves strongly to the number of infections – there is also criticism of this. A group of renowned German health experts points out that “the number of infections currently dominating the public debate cannot be equated with the severity of the disease in the epidemic”.

graphic

The group that has dealt critically with the government strategy in several thesis papers since the spring includes former members of the Federal Government’s Advisory Council on Health, health insurance representatives and medical professors. Many infections went unnoticed or were only slightly impaired, the authors write in their most recent paper.

“The drama of the epidemic is only justified by the serious disease progression or death.” That means: Instead of the number of those who tested positive, the focus must be much more on the occupancy of the clinics and the disease progression in risk groups.

The map of the Federal Republic in the daily situation report of the RKI is increasingly colored in the red alarm color. More and more districts are considered risk areas, so they recorded more than 50 confirmed new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days. In 71 districts, the so-called seven-day incidence was even over 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, and in relation to the whole of Germany it rose to 75.

The number of reproductions (R value), which indicates how many people an infected person infects on average, is also in the red area. To contain an epidemic, R must be less than 1. According to the RKI, the value has been well above this threshold since the beginning of October, most recently at 1.39.

The new infections reported daily now exceed the number of cases from spring – however, the values ​​are only comparable to a limited extent, as much more is now being tested. But the new dynamics of the pandemic can be seen in the positive rate: if 0.75 percent of the corona tests were positive at the end of August, the rate was recently five times as high. The health authorities are increasingly overwhelmed with the follow-up of the contacts.

In contrast, the capacities in the hospitals are still in the green area. The number of Covid 19 patients in intensive care units rose to almost 1,300 last week, but according to the RKI, around 8,300 intensive care beds are still available in Germany. Five percent of reported corona cases currently have to be hospitalized, compared with more than 20 percent in the spring. The proportion of deceased among the reported Covid 19 cases has been continuously below one percent since the end of July.

Mean age is now 39 years

One explanation for the differences compared to spring is that it is now more likely that young people are infected who, statistically speaking, have a very low risk of a severe course of Covid 19 disease. In the past few weeks, however, more and more elderly people have been infected, the average age of the cases rose from 32 years at the end of August to 39 years. Since the disease is more severe in the elderly, the number of severe cases and deaths is increasing, according to the RKI.

Angela Merkel

The Chancellor will be discussing the situation with the Prime Minister on Wednesday.

(Photo: dpa)

Merkel also warned the CDU leaders, according to meeting participants on Monday, that Germany could soon find itself in a “difficult situation” with intensive care beds. The Saarland Prime Minister Tobias Hans (CDU) told Deutschlandfunk before the federal-state consultations this week that he did not believe “that we need or will have a lockdown situation like in spring”. But this will only succeed “if we, as federal states, work in concert with the federal government to set clear standards that are transparent for everyone”.

Protection of risk groups

The group of experts around the former health practitioners Matthias Schrappe and Gerd Glaeske calls for the protection of risk groups to be given greater focus instead of mental games about hard contact restrictions. The current debate on restrictions and safeguards is centered on the general population with an emphasis on younger or mobile people, they write.

The basic idea is to break the chains of infection. “It is questionable whether this will succeed,” the paper continues with a view to the spread of the virus.

The group proposes a number of preventive measures for risk groups. For example, hospitals and nursing homes should only be allowed to be entered with FFP2 masks, which offer a high level of protection against infections. In addition, elderly and sick people would have to receive free FFP2 masks through their doctor’s offices.

While there were major bottlenecks in professional protective masks in the spring, the federal government has now created large reserves. “It is better to use them now and replace them later than to manage them in warehouses.”

More: Cancellation of the party congress causes Zoff in the CDU – Merz: “Decision against the base”.

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The fear of Friedrich Merz is huge

Friedrich Merz

The CDU must be careful that the party spirit is not eaten up for fear of Friedrich Merz.

(Photo: dpa)

The fear of Friedrich Merz must be overpowering among many top CDU officials. There is no other way of interpreting the decision of the top bodies to postpone the party congress into the coming year. It is right not to hold a face-to-face convention with 1001 delegates, which is organized as usual. However, the Junge Union has shown how one can get an attractive digital format for the three applicants for the party chairmanship and vote on it.

The reason given by the CDU leadership that in the run-up to Christmas the post would be overwhelmed with a thousand additional letters can confidently be dismissed as real satire. There was once a film by Rainer Werner Fassbinder with the title “Fear Eats Soul”. The CDU must be careful that the party soul is not eaten up for fear of Friedrich Merz.

Armin Laschet’s supporters, ranging from the acting CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier, apparently do not currently trust the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister to win over Merz. They don’t seem to be aware that they are pushing Merz more and more into the hero role.

The best man has already been chosen for the CDU base. It is the Sauerlander who evidently embodies the longing for departure most strongly. According to a Forsa survey, almost half of the CDU members want Merz to lead the party. Armin Laschet and Norbert Röttgen are far behind.

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The federal and state governments are discussing new restrictions

Dhe federal government wants to take new resolutions together with the federal states on Wednesday to limit the recent rapid spread of the coronavirus – even before their regular conference on Friday. “It will have to be discussed what can be done,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert on Monday in Berlin. Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) will take part in the video conference with the Prime Minister. The situation is serious. The number of new infections registered daily roughly doubled within a week. There has to be a quick stabilization here.

Seibert did not yet want to suggest what exactly should be decided. But everyone knows that every day counts now. “So I also expect resolutions.” There are more corona patients in hospitals and more infections among older people. In addition, it is no longer possible to track the waves of infection everywhere.

Merkel plans, according to a report, “lockdown light”

In view of the massive increase in corona infections, the Chancellor is pressing for new massive restrictions on restaurants and events, according to a report in the “Bild” newspaper on Monday. The “Bild” did not name a specific source for this, the paper cited information from “informed circles” in the run-up to the top meeting between the Chancellor and the Prime Ministers of the federal states planned for Wednesday.

In contrast to the lockdown in spring, according to the report, schools and daycare centers should not be closed, apart from regions with particularly high numbers of infections. The retail sector should also remain open, albeit with additional restrictions.

Dreyer speaks of a “decisive turning point”

In the opinion of the Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer, the deliberations on Wednesday should also be about whether the contacts across Germany must be further restricted. “We are in a very serious situation,” said Dreyer on Monday during a video switch of the Corona Alliance Rhineland-Palatinate with a view to the exponentially increasing corona infections.

The Social Democrat spoke of a “decisive turning point” in the course of the pandemic. However, it must be thought about which contacts could be further reduced “without daycare centers and schools having to close and the economy collapsing”.

Several state cabinets will meet on Tuesday to discuss future steps with the municipalities.

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“Health just comes first”


Against unlimited powers of attorney by the government: Ralph Brinkhaus
Image: dpa

The parliamentary group leader of the Union in the Bundestag defends the postponement of the CDU party congress against the criticism of Friedrich Merz. Ralph Brinkhaus also speaks about Parliament’s role during the pandemic.

Mr. Brinkhaus, the election of a new CDU chairman has been postponed until next year. Do you understand the annoyance of the candidate Friedrich Merz, who called it a decision against the party base?

What guided the CDU presidium and the CDU board in this decision was concern for the health and the development of the pandemic. That is very far ahead; after that nothing comes for a long time.

And do you fully share these motivations?

I voted for it in both decision-making bodies. When weighing up the pros and cons, health comes first.

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CDU – Lost in Corona – Politik

Paul Ziemiak is not to be envied. The CDU General Secretary has been balancing through complicated terrain for months. On the one hand, since the announced withdrawal of his current party leader in February, he has had to do everything possible to appear fair to all successor candidates. On the other hand, since the outbreak of the pandemic, he has had to check everything imaginable in order to finally enable a party congress and thus the election of a successor to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. So far, he has succeeded in the first task. With the second, however, he has not come a step further.

There was no majority for any of the alternatives

Ziemiak therefore stood at the microphone on Monday, quite contrite, to report on the needs of his party after the meetings of the CDU committees. “Corona is fully back,” says Ziemiak. And that is why it is no longer possible to hold the party congress on December 4th in the Stuttgart Exhibition Center as planned, despite a “sophisticated hygiene concept” at the party headquarters. Ziemiak says he is aware of “the great desire for a decision”, especially among the party base. But the CDU must also “show responsibility in the pandemic”. Therefore one will not invite to the party congress now.

So far so unsurprising. This decision had been emerging for days. The number of infections has risen too much recently – and with them the appeals from politicians to please refrain from larger meetings. For many in the CDU leadership, holding a party congress with 1001 delegates simply does not fit.

More problematic than this realization is that on Monday there was no majority in the CDU committees for any alternatives to such a presence party conference. So the party leadership has decided against switching to a digital party conference with postal voting. The idea of ​​spreading the party congress over several halls in the republic in order to meet the hygiene requirements with these much smaller events was also rejected.

That Ziemiak would have liked to try the latter can be seen on Monday. This idea also went back to him. In public, however, he only talks for several minutes about the fact that there have been “good arguments” for and against everything, but that his role is not to say that “one argument is right and the other wrong”. A general secretary cannot be more neutral. But hardly more helpless.

Especially since Ziemiak is now less and less able to prevent the pandemic and how it is handled poisoning the competition for the CDU chairmanship. For the time being, Armin Laschet prevailed, who had already asked for a postponement at the weekend. The Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia justified this with the corona situation. But everyone in the CDU also knows that in surveys of CDU supporters it is still behind today. In the end, it is not the supporters but the delegates who will decide on the chairmanship. But of course the polls also have an effect on the delegates.

Friedrich Merz, on the other hand, ex-parliamentary group leader and Laschet’s sharpest opponent, has identified the postponement of all decisions as an act against himself. Already in the morning he explained that in his view, not having a digital party congress with subsequent postal voting could not be justified with the Corona issue. “There are considerable sections of the party establishment who want to prevent me from becoming party leader,” says Merz. He has now openly declared war on this establishment – and finally made it his opponent.

Norbert Röttgen sounds completely different. The previous outsider in the competition shows on Monday what you say when you want to place yourself between your competitors. Röttgen speaks of a “bitter” postponement, but at the same time praises the CDU, which is proving to be a stability factor in the crisis. Now they need a “reliable plan for the new election”, preferably at a “presence party conference”. That sounds peaceful and won’t leave any scars.

How things will go on now, nobody knows. It is only clear that the previous possibilities of the big CDU for party conferences no longer fit into the new era. Because the party law is quite antiquated. It stipulates that board members may only be elected at face-to-face party conferences. At their last meeting with the Chancellor, however, the Prime Ministers decided that in regions where there are more than 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week, there should only be events with a maximum of 100 participants. Exceptions require “a hygiene concept agreed with the responsible health department”. In the district of Esslingen – where the Stuttgart Exhibition Center is located, where the CDU party conference was supposed to take place – the 50 threshold has long been exceeded.

Alternatively, the CDU had planned to hold the party conference in a different location. Because of the widespread spread of the virus, this had to be discarded. Even in East Germany, which has so far been relatively spared, the maps of the Robert Koch Institute are slowly but surely turning red.

A postal vote would probably take 70 days

Only after a change in the law passed at the beginning of October, which will come into force in the next few weeks and only apply during the pandemic, the CDU now also has the two options that were discussed on Monday. You could organize a digital party conference and then have your board of directors elected by postal vote. Electronic voting is not permitted due to security risks. Alternatively, the CDU could split its party congress into different locations. For example, one hundred delegates could come together at ten locations at the same time. The application speeches of the candidates would be broadcast in the halls. A ballot box could then be used immediately at each of these locations. Like postal voting, this is considered safe.

But these two variants are also problematic. In the case of a split party congress, the responsible health department would only have to prohibit the event in one place – and the entire party congress would have been canceled. And with the postal voting option, it would take many weeks for all votes to be over. There would have to be a chairperson election first. Then probably a runoff. Then the party index would have to be determined. Then the rest of the presidium and then the board members. All of that would take about 70 days, says Ziemiak. That also explains why it is so difficult for the Secretary General.

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