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Merkel might force the federal states to impose tougher lockdown measures

Merkel might force the federal states to impose tougher lockdown measures

Merkel might force the federal states to impose tougher lockdown measures

With calls for a tough, uniform approach to coronavirus in Germany growing louder, Angela Merkel is apparently gearing up to take drastic action. According to a media report, the chancellor is planning to alter legislation, to enable the federal government to force the federal states to fall in line. 

New legislation would mandate tighter restrictions in corona hotspots

According to a report in Bild, Angela Merkel is attempting to change the Infection Protection Act, with the aim of standardising coronavirus measures nationwide. The change would force municipalities to tighten restrictions whenever the regional incidence rate and R-value rises above a predetermined limit. 

This so-called “emergency brake” is already written into Germany’s strategy for combating coronavirus - having been agreed upon at a previous summit between federal and state leaders - but the country’s federal system means that its implementation has largely been left up to the individual states. 

Although in the early stages of the pandemic federal and state leaders presented a largely united front, the breakdown of Germany’s coronavirus strategy in recent weeks and months has seen this begin to fragment, with each state increasingly adopting its own approach to tackling the virus. 

Merkel has previously expressed concern that some states are refusing to implement the emergency brake - or conversely even easing measures - despite the fact that coronavirus case numbers are rising. 

Federal government would be given power to impose corona restrictions

According to Bild, members of the chancellor’s political party are already working on an initiative that would enable the federal government to enact coronavirus measures by means of an ordinance. In a nutshell, it would mean that not only the state governments, but also the federal government, would be authorised to impose coronavirus restrictions locally. 

One of the initiative’s initiators, CDU member Norbert Röttgen, told Bild: “It’s not about weakening the federal states. The point is to allow the federal government to act at all.” 

According to an email circulated among CDU members, the fierce disagreements at the coronavirus summit at the beginning of the month, which saw negotiations drag on long into the night without any agreement on joint action being found, “made visible the weaknesses of the Infection Protection Act”. 

So far, around two dozen MPs have voiced their support for the initiative. 

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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