Chancellery wants to extend lockdown until mid-February

DThe federal government wants to extend the current corona lockdown until February 15 and tighten the protective measures in some cases. A draft resolution from the Federal Chancellery for the federal-state consultations on Tuesday afternoon provides, among other things, for the obligation to wear medical masks in local transport and in shops. Exit restrictions and a limitation of the radius of movement to 15 kilometers around the place of residence are to be extended to large parts of Germany. The document from Monday evening has now been replaced by a new draft as of 12.40 p.m. on Tuesday. Some points have been put in square brackets. This means that this passage is debatable. Both documents are available to the FAZ.

The prime ministers of the federal states would have to agree in the afternoon. It appears, however, that there is still considerable disagreement about the required measures. In particular, the SPD-led countries announced a number of requests for changes.

According to the will of the Chancellery, there is an obligation to wear medical masks in public transport and in shops. “Wearing mouth and nose covers has proven to be a particularly effective measure in the pandemic,” says the first submission, which is dated Monday evening. Everyday masks made of fabric have a worse effect than medical masks. This means both simple surgical masks and significantly more expensive FFP2 masks. In Bavaria there is already an obligation to wear FFP2 masks.

Schools should open in mid-February at the earliest

The federal government also wants to oblige companies to offer their employees to work from home as far as possible. The Federal Ministry of Labor will issue a corresponding ordinance, according to the bill.

This measure is intended to help reduce contacts in public transport. The aim is “that the number of passengers usually does not exceed a third of the regular number of passengers permitted in a means of transport”. This should enable passengers to keep a greater distance. Employers should also enable flexible working hours in order to equalize the flow of commuters.

In daycare centers and schools, the previous restrictions should remain: “Emergency care is ensured and distance learning is offered.” “Special regulations” could apply to final classes. The Chancellery advocates that schools generally only open after February 15. The entire paragraph is in square brackets and is therefore considered controversial.

In the proposal, citizens are called upon to “limit all contacts to the absolutely necessary minimum in the next three weeks and stay at home as far as possible”. Private get-togethers are “still permitted in the group of members of the own household and with a maximum of one other person not living in the household”. However, this already existing rule has been implemented differently by the federal states.

The Chancellery does not call for further tightening of contacts in the private sector in the draft. However, the states are to expand their regulations for corona hotspots, which previously apply from a seven-day incidence of 200 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants, to areas with an incidence over 50. This passage is also in square brackets in the second draft. There it says somewhat awkwardly: “In countries or districts which, due to their high 7-day incidence, cannot foreseeably fall below the incidence of 50 by February 15, the countries are now also below an incidence of 200 for as long and so take extensive further local or regional measures according to the Infection Protection Act, in particular exit restrictions and / or the restriction of the radius of movement to 15 km around the place of residence, so that a correspondingly rapid reduction in the number of infections is achieved. “

Large parts of Germany would then be affected by such curfews and the restriction of the radius of movement to a maximum of 15 kilometers around the place of residence. Only 14 of 294 counties currently have a seven-day incidence below 50.

In the proposal, the federal government refers to the improvements that can be expected from the corona vaccinations. “At the beginning of 2021, the corona pandemic is marked by great hope,” says the introduction. “The approval of now two vaccines, the start of vaccinations and the prospect of further successful vaccine candidates are linked to the hope that the pandemic can be overcome this year.” A new working group is to prepare possible steps to open it in the event that the incidence drops below 50.

“As long as we remain at a medium to high infection level, however, there is no room for relaxation. And if the virus mutations actually turn out to be much more contagious, the situation is likely to worsen significantly. “


Industry warns of lockdown of production: “Borders Harakiri”

Production at the main BASF plant in Ludwigshafen

The employees deal with the hygiene rules very responsibly, according to the chemical company.

(Photo: obs)

Düsseldorf In the political debate about tightening the lockdown, the industry is urgently warning against the closure of production facilities. The systems could not be “switched off and on at will like a light bulb”, says Markus Jerger from the BVMW SME Association. A total lockdown would mean the end for many companies, especially in the manufacturing sector, and cause massive economic damage.

The association “The Family Entrepreneurs” made a similar statement on Tuesday. Its President Reinhold von Eben-Worlée said of the demands for a complete shutdown of the industry: “That borders on Harakiri: After all, we ensure the supply of the population with our materials and products.”

On Tuesday, at the next summit, the federal and state governments will discuss further steps to contain the corona pandemic. Politicians have already brought the closure of industrial plants into play as a possible consequence of the persistently high number of infections.

However, it is becoming apparent that the Prime Ministers are divided on this issue. For Lower Saxony’s head of state, Stefan Weil (SPD), a shutdown of the industry is not an option: “You have to realize that a complete economic standstill is associated with enormous damage,” said the SPD politician on Monday.

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This is not just about the economic impact on the companies themselves. The chemical industry, for example, predicts supply problems for the entire economy and for the health system if it had to close its factory gates.

Experts recall the experiences from the first lockdown in spring 2020. According to an investigation by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research, the effects were long-lasting. Numerous companies suffered production collapses or were affected by delivery problems from suppliers.

“Working from home is simply not possible”

The study shows that production got off to a slow start after the first lockdown. As quickly as a production facility can be stopped, it is just as challenging to restart it. This is especially true for the deeply networked chemical plants, but also for car production.

Industrial companies also refer to their safety and hygiene concepts. We work in permanent shifts, the teams are strictly separated from one another. In industries such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the safety standards are so high that the risk of contracting the virus while in operation is lower than in front of the factory gates, said Michael Vassiliadis, head of the mining, chemical and energy union, on Monday.

Vassiliadis also rejects calls for companies to work from home: In many industrial sectors, working from home is simply not possible. The administrations of the chemical and pharmaceutical companies already work mostly in the home office, as surveys among the companies show.

Germany’s largest chemical company, BASF, does not consider it necessary to work from home. “Our experience over the past few months has shown that employees are very responsible for the current distance and hygiene regulations at the site and work from home whenever possible,” says the DAX company.

More: Tougher lockdown is approaching: Politicians could still turn these adjusting screws


Bridging aid: Federal government puts together a new rescue package

Peter Altmaier

The Federal Minister of Economics wants to simplify the payment of bridging aid III.

(Photo: AFP)

Berlin The family company Behn has been running a beverage wholesaler in Schleswig-Holstein since 1892 and produces popular spirits such as “Kleiner Feigling” or “Küstennebel”.

There is a great demand for alcoholic beverages during the corona crisis. But Rüdiger Behn, who runs the company with his brother, is still worried, also because a large part of the turnover is accounted for by the catering trade. And with the Corona aid, the company fell through the rust completely.

As an indirectly affected company, it could only benefit if sales had slumped by at least 80 percent. Rüdiger Behn is correspondingly bad at talking about politics: “Minister of Economic Affairs Altmaier broke his promise not to leave any company out in the rain,” says the entrepreneur. That undermines the credibility of the policy.

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Heil wants to oblige companies to work from home

AEmployers should fear sanctions in the future if they forbid their employees to work from home, although this would be possible in the opinion of the control authorities. This is provided by new plans by Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD), which he has prepared for the federal-state talks on tightened contact restrictions this Tuesday. “I am in favor of us doing this with more commitment when it comes to the question of the offer,” Heil told journalists on Monday. The Greens had previously made similar demands. Trade unionists were skeptical.

According to the plans, companies would be legally obliged to offer their employees to work from home, if the task does not preclude this. However, the employees would not be obliged to accept the offer if they could. He appealed to them to accept such offers, Heil explained. The currently applicable legal basis only permitted binding obligations to be borne by the employer. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Employer President Rainer Dulger and the Chairman of the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB), Reiner Hoffmann, appealed to employers and employees on Friday to switch to home office.

“Arbitrarily not offered”

Heil initially did not provide details of the planned regulations. Should Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Ministers decide on his proposals, he would implement them “immediately” by means of a statutory instrument. As key words, Heil cited a tightening of the Sars-Cov2 occupational safety standard, which has been in force since April and which is subject to control by the employers’ liability insurance association, and the new “Occupational Safety and Health Control Act”. In addition to strict new regulations for the meat industry, this also contains stricter rules for all industries. Heil admitted that “an unbelievable number of companies” are doing a lot to enable their employees to work from home. “But we have some areas in which this is not offered arbitrarily,” he criticized. However, there is apparently no more detailed information on where and to what extent this applies.

Politically, a survey on behalf of the Hans Böckler Foundation is often cited, according to which allegedly fewer employees now work from home than in spring 2020. In fact, the informative value of this data is very limited: The survey took place in November and came to the conclusion that at that time – in November – 14 percent of employees were working from home, compared to 27 percent in April. There is currently no information about the degree of widespread use of home office in December or January, the Böckler Foundation announced on Monday at the request of the FAZ.

Union and employer representatives were irritated by the plans and the course of the debate. In relation to the industry, he “did not really understand”, said the chairman of the chemical union IG BCE, Michael Vassiliadis. In areas like the pharmaceutical industry, working from home is simply not possible. “It’s a little unworldly,” he said. The DGB chairman of Baden-Württemberg, Martin Kunzmann, also warned that an excessively strict home office requirement would also be counterproductive for employees. Mobile working does not automatically mean that this also happens under good conditions, said Kunzmann of the German press agency. Employer President Rainer Dulger warned on Monday that a legal obligation contradicts “in spirit” the appeal of the Federal President ”on Friday.


Scholz employees trained by EY

Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz

Individual coaching for his closest employees.

(Foto: imago images/photothek)

Berlin When the Wirecard scandal broke out at the end of June 2020, it quickly became clear to Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) who was responsible for the disaster besides the Wirecard managers: the auditors from EY, who had not objected to the Dax Group’s balance sheets for years.

“Critical questions are also posed to the supervision of the company, especially with regard to accounting and balance sheet control,” said Scholz. “Auditors and regulators seem to have been ineffective here.”

At the same time, while Scholz EY was pushing ahead, his closest employees were being trained in individual coaching by EY. This emerges from an internal document of the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), which is available to the Handelsblatt.

“Until the summer, EY worked as a lecturer as part of the BMF training program (Module 1 – Legal Basics) on supervisory board work, including recently in individual coaching on July 2, 2020 for St S and St K,” says the document.

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“St S and St K” are the abbreviations for Wolfgang Schmidt and Jörg Kukies, who, as state secretaries in the Federal Ministry of Finance, also hold supervisory board mandates. Schmidt at the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), Kukies at the state development bank KfW.

“EY had won the tender for the contract and performed properly,” says the document. From the point of view of financial politicians, it is fundamentally sensible for state secretaries to receive further training in order to be able to carry out their secondary work as members of the supervisory board of important organizations or companies.

But the fact that EY of all people carried out the coaching is somewhat ironic against the background of the Wirecard scandal and the criticism of EY. FDP finance politician Florian Toncar says: “It’s getting more and more absurd.”

Incidentally, Scholz now wants to legally restrict these consultancy services from auditors without blushing. FDP finance politician Florian Toncar

While Olaf Scholz tried to publicly unload all the blame for the Wirecard disaster at EY, his closest confidants completed one-on-one coaching with this company.

“Incidentally, Scholz now wants to legally restrict these consultancy services from auditors without blushing,” said Toncar.

EY loses audit mandates

EY has so far rejected misconduct in the Wirecard scandal. Nevertheless, in addition to Scholz, many other politicians also see EY as responsible for the scandal. Therefore, the question also arises as to how the Federal Government deals with the large number of consultancy contracts it has concluded with EY. And also whether EY should continue to check the balance sheets of companies with federal participation.

The federal government has already drawn the first steps. The Handelsblatt reported last week that EY lost its audit mandate at Deutsche Telekom due to pressure from representatives of the federal government on the supervisory board. It was the fourth major test order that EY had to submit since the Wirecard scandal.

More: EY loses auditing mandate at Deutsche Telekom


What politics is now discussing

Angela Merkel, Jens Spahn and Olaf Scholz

The government could decide to tighten the measures in the coming week.

(Photo: imago images / Eibner)

Berlin Actually, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) and the Prime Minister did not want to discuss a possible extension and tightening of the lockdown until January 25. The federal-state conference was brought forward to this Tuesday – because of concerns about mutations of the coronavirus, which are considered to be significantly more contagious. Science still has no clear answers as to how justified these fears really are. But caution rules.

The new CDU boss and North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister, Armin Laschet, said on ZDF that he was assuming “that we will again tighten the situation.” Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) also insisted on a harder lockdown. “The Prime Minister’s Conference has to decide on tightening so that we can finally get the numbers down,” he told the “Rheinische Post”. Brinkhaus also referred to the mutation of the corona virus, which presumably came from Great Britain.

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What Laschet’s election means for the SPD – politics

So now Armin Laschet. After the 59-year-old was elected as CDU chairman, the reaction of the coalition partner SPD is polite but restrained. The party leadership sends out congratulations, that’s the way to go. It was no different when Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans became chairmen of the SPD in December 2019 after a long competition – although when they were elected it was not clear whether they would break up the grand coalition. In the competition for the chairmanship, the two had repeatedly flirted with the premature end. But that was a long time ago and if you will: forgiven.

The SPD will take Laschet at his word “in view of important issues that will be on the agenda until the end of the legislative period. Constructively and, where necessary, in an objective and hard struggle to find the best path for the people,” announced Walter-Borjans on Saturday at. He knows Laschet from his time as NRW finance minister. He therefore also knows: Laschet, as friendly as he is, shouldn’t be underestimated as an election campaigner. In 2017 Laschet succeeded in promoting the SPD and its popular Prime Minister Hannelore Kraft into the opposition in North Rhine-Westphalia. Walter-Borjans, then finance minister, also had to vacate his office.

Now that Laschet has conquered the CDU chairmanship, the Social Democrats expect that he will next reach for the candidacy for chancellor. In any case, CSU boss Markus Söder can expect that such a strengthened Laschet will not let him go first without a fight, even if the politician from Bavaria is ahead of Laschet in surveys on whom the Germans trust the chancellorship. The prospects are not rosy for the SPD.

Merz would have been a gift for the SPD in the election campaign: a “clear enemy image”

If the delegates had made economic expert Friedrich Merz chairman of the Union, it would have been a gift for the SPD. Merz would have given the election campaign what the Social Democrats urgently need: friction. Or, as one of the SPD leadership describes it: “a clear enemy image”.

Merz’s awkward handling of the issue of equality between men and women, his economically liberal course, the longing for a conservatism of days gone by – the comrades would not have let a minute pass after his election to shift up a gear in election campaign mode. Merz would have offered them the echo chamber for their demands for an expansion of the welfare state and greater burden sharing in society. But: Your opponent is initially called Laschet and not Merz. And this forces the SPD to review its strategy again.

When the Social Democrats made Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz a candidate for Chancellor in the summer of 2020, they did so with a clear idea of ​​how their husband would conquer the Chancellery. Angela Merkel will not run again, so the Union can no longer rely on the Merkel bonus. The hope in the SPD: Once it becomes really clear to the people that Merkel is no longer a candidate, Scholz will embody the very continuity that many voters who have so far voted for the Union because of Merkel are demanding. At the moment the SPD is stuck at 15 percent in polls. But from this “moment of awakening” the SPD is hoping for an XXL effect that will push them to over 20 percent.

Laschet does not even think about releasing the political center

But what happens if Laschet simply copies Merkel’s style? This is exactly what his application speech sounded like: “I keep hearing that you have to be able to polarize. I say: No, you don’t have to.” In the end it comes down to finding compromises. “Some of our opponents call it ‘keep it up” “Laschet has absolutely no problems being perceived as a continuation of Merkel’s policy. On the contrary, he doesn’t even think about them When Laschet held his father’s old miner’s badge as a good luck charm in the camera during his speech, his speech even had a social-democratic impact for a moment. He remained compatible with the Greens.

If Laschet were to succeed in creating unity in the Union, the SPD’s strategy could come to nothing. Scholz is not considered a riot maker. In addition, the pandemic management will force the government partners to exercise a certain discipline in their dealings with one another for weeks. That helps Laschet, but the SPD is running out of time.


The battle for the course continues

Armin Laschet (l.), Friedrich Merz and Paul Ziemiak (r.) After the election at the digital CDU party conference.
Image: Reuters

It is not without reason that the CDU believes that Armin Laschet can overcome the division within the party better than Friedrich Merz. To do this, however, the new chairman must also surpass himself.

Dhe father’s miner’s brand brought Armin Laschet the luck it should bring him. He was elected ninth chairman of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany with a 55-vote lead. However, it takes more than the support of the father and the shine of a piece of brass to turn this scarce luck into a strand for the new Steiger and his party. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who also comes from a mining region, came to the top of the party two years ago with almost the same percentage – and failed within a year. The CDU is not a cozy party of dignitaries. It is the Bayern Munich of German politics: Anyone who does not meet expectations – to get the next championship / chancellorship – will be dropped. The disregard that Angela Merkel finally allowed her former successor to be granted in Munich did not even have to endure even the most hapless coach.

Laschet’s chances of escaping this fate and inheriting Merkel in the Chancellery are better. The CDU would have to be powdered with the SPD’s clip bag if it refused to support its new chairman like his predecessor in the super election year 2021. Laschet will take care not to repeat her mistakes. Merkel has not been in office for long either. But the struggle over which direction the CDU should march after the end of its era is not over yet. This is shown by the many votes for Friedrich Merz and also his offer, published immediately after the defeat, to join the government as Minister of Economics – still the government of his old enemy Merkel. The word is not an exaggeration, in any direction.


The federal and state governments are planning night curfews

At the federal-state summit on Tuesday, further cuts are pending in the everyday life of citizens. According to media reports, it is already clear that there will be a curfew.

At the federal-state talks on Tuesday, curfews and an FFP2 mask requirement in rail traffic will probably also be wrestled. “There is a selection of possibilities on the table”, said Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier of the “Rheinische Post”. In addition to the FFP2 mask requirement in rail traffic and the curfews, he also mentioned a home office requirement and clearer contact restrictions. Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said that he expected the federal and state governments to tighten the corona restrictions and extend them by two weeks.

The “Tagesschau” and the business magazine “Business Insider” had previously reported that the federal and state governments would probably want to introduce a night curfew nationwide. The only open question is from when to when such a curfew will apply and whether it should only come into force from a certain incidence, it said in the reports on Sunday, citing information from government circles. In principle, the federal states agreed to the measure.

Some of the rules already apply in Bavaria

In Bavaria, people have had to wear FFP2 protective masks on buses, trams, underground and suburban trains and in all shops since the early hours of the morning. There is also a night curfew in the Free State. Before the consultations on Tuesday, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder sees his own state in the fight against the pandemic already well positioned. “We don’t need to pull a screw anymore, I think,” said the CSU boss on Sunday evening on the ARD talk show “Anne Will”.

Instead, Söder called on the other countries to implement the decisions made at the Prime Minister’s Conference more consistently. “Half of the countries do something completely different,” he said. “So that you have to keep asking the question: Why do we decide something when half do it differently.” Söder called for a consistent application and implementation of what was decided in Berlin. “I also don’t believe in endless differentiations – because only what applies to everyone is understandable.”

Söder sees the regulations in Bavaria as a kind of blueprint for federal regulations. According to information from the “Business Insider”, the Chancellery even wants to introduce a nationwide uniform night curfew, as it already exists in France or other neighboring countries. From the federal states, however, one can also hear that everything is currently being discussed that can be discussed.

Scholz expects a longer lockdown

Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in the “Bild” talk “The right questions”: “Further measures must be taken.” (…). “I assume that it could be 14 days that will be added again.” The Vice Chancellor did not want to rule out whether this also includes curfews: “I think this is a possible measure, but not the first one to come.”

SPD health politician Karl Lauterbach even spoke out in favor of a tough three-week lockdown. The growth of the mutation must absolutely be prevented, he wrote on Twitter early Monday morning. Otherwise the mutation will spread “faster than we can vaccinate”. In his view, curfews from 8 p.m. are justifiable for three weeks. For local public transport, he advocates maximum occupation limits and FFP2 mask requirements.

“What we cannot even assess is the British virus”

So there is still a lot of need for coordination in front of the federal-state switch. On Monday, the leaders of the federal and state governments will be informed about new findings by leading scientists. “There are those who they all know”, said Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) at “Anne Will” and named the RKI President Lothar Wieler and the Charité virologist Christian Drosten.

On the question of why the federal-state meeting on Tuesday was scheduled so quickly and why the situation is so urgent, Bouffier said: “What we cannot assess is the British virus. That is the reason why we are meeting now.” This time scientists from Great Britain will also be there. “It will be about: What knowledge do you have?” In Great Britain, a more contagious mutation of the coronavirus has spread widely, which has now also been detected in Germany. A comparable variant has also appeared in South Africa.

There is a risk that the dynamics will accelerate again if the virus mutations continue to spread, said Altmaier. “That is why we must now – and this is explicitly my opinion as Minister of Economics – at the Prime Minister’s Conference set the course so that we can finally break the wave of infections in the next few weeks and prevent the dynamic from rising again until Easter.”

The SPD leader also speaks of the obligation to work from home

SPD leader Saskia Esken spoke to “Anne Will” like Altmaier of the home office obligation: You may have to order home office in the company, she said. Scholz also called for companies to be more accountable when it came to home office matters, and that it could “not stay with appeals,” he said in the “Bild” talk. “We have to go one step further.” But he did not want to talk about an obligation to work from home: It will always depend on “that this is also operationally possible. We want to remain pragmatic and not ask for the impossible”.

Green parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt calls for an initiative to expand corona rapid tests in the fight against the virus. “With purchase guarantees and a change in the medical product dispensing regulation, Health Minister (Jens) Spahn must ensure that sufficient rapid tests are produced and can also be bought and used by private individuals,” said Goering-Eckardt to the newspapers of the Funke media group.

According to Göring-Eckardt, regular rapid tests should ensure more safety in all professions in which people regularly work with changing contacts. She cited doctors, nurses and police officers as examples.

The virologist Marylyn Addo expects the corona pandemic to ease significantly from spring and summer. “Already because of the warmer weather and the higher vaccination rate,” said the head of the Infectious Diseases Section of the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) of the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (Monday).


In the Union, the motto now applies: Glückauf, the Laschet is coming

Armin Laschet delivered again. The eternally underrated cleared three competitors out of the way at the CDU federal party conference. It was Friedrich Merz, Norbert Röttgen and also Jens Spahn. It was not the first time that the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister showed stamina and kept his nerve, even if many wanted to praise him on the President’s chair. He ran his candidacy and his courage was rewarded.

Now Laschet is at the head of the CDU. This means that the candidate for chancellor is within his grasp. The last two Chancellors Gerhard Schröder and Angela Merkel consider the Aachen resident to be cut from the right cloth. You trust him to fill the most powerful government office in Germany. With Merkel, however, the main concern was to prevent her intimate enemy Friedrich Merz. Any other candidate was fine with her. Gerhard Schröder justifies his praise for Laschet in terms of content. It is suitable because it can combine the economic and the social.

So far, Friedrich Merz has always been the favorite in business. However, Laschet has shown in North Rhine-Westphalia that he can pursue an active industrial policy. This is part of the standard repertoire of a NRW Prime Minister. What stands out, however, is that, unlike the federal government, he has already created a digital ministry in Düsseldorf. With the FDP politician Pinkwart, he also found the ideal man for it.

Laschet has proclaimed a “decade of modernization”. Important elements here are startup funding and a moratorium on taxes and duties. What is still missing is a tax concept. Laschet says he doesn’t want to talk about it until after a cash drop after the general election. But he cannot avoid this major reform project beforehand if he wants to successfully combat the economic consequences of the pandemic.

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In terms of location competition, Germany has slipped dramatically. This is especially true for corporate taxes. Countries as different as the US and France have already cut taxes. In Germany, companies are longingly waiting for the same to happen in this country. For the service providers, the complete abolition of the solos would also help, which incidentally all medium-sized companies have to pay.

The fight for the candidacy for chancellor is still ahead

Laschet won a mountain stage by winning the CDU chairmanship. But it is not more. The individual time trial against the ambitious Markus Söder is still ahead. The Bavarian Prime Minister has not yet withdrawn his own ambitions for the Union to run for chancellor. In addition, Laschet will face further tests.

For one thing, he has to pacify the party. After all, Friedrich Merz has won almost half of the votes and is still a favorite of the base. When it comes to merging different camps, however, Laschet can play to its strengths, as a look at his state cabinet shows. He has a black sheriff as interior minister and a Sacred Heart Socialist as welfare minister.

Then come the state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. There the CDU has to win against two popular prime ministers. This will show for the first time whether there is a Laschet effect.

But the overriding topic is the fight against the corona pandemic. As party chairman and possible candidate for chancellor, Laschet is now paying even closer attention to every small breakdown and every major mishap in his crisis management. In terms of communication, he’s clearly lagging behind Markus Söder so far. The Franconian cannot show any better figures, but in the surveys he is ahead of Laschet thanks to clever rhetoric and staging.

Laschet’s election was also a directional decision that left its mark on the election campaign. The SPD had secretly hoped for Merz. A Merz-prevent election campaign would have mobilized their electorate to the maximum. That is now completely eliminated. The Greens can live extremely well with Laschet. He belongs to the Pizza Connection and thus one of the banner bearers from the very beginning. The FDP can be happy twice. Laschet has made a clear commitment to his black-yellow coalition. In addition, the FDP does not have to fear that Friedrich Merz will steal bourgeois voters from them.

Laschet caressed the soul of the party in his speech. He successfully solicited trust. He gave the digital goosebumps moment when he remembered his father, who was a miner and showed his badge with the number 813. The Germans love ascension stories and Laschet set this point ingeniously. That is why the old Steiger motto now applies in the Union: Glückauf, the Laschet is coming.

More: This is what the new CDU boss’s economic policy plans look like.