In the interview, Finance Minister Scholz grabs Merkel and Spahn on the subject of corona vaccination, talks about his relationship to surveys – and defends the huge new debt.
- Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) calls for “significantly higher” Corona vaccination capacities *.
- He calls on all competent authorities to refer to the Accelerate the vaccination campaign prepare.
- in the Munich Mercury-Interview he also talks about the treatment of already vaccinated people and his Candidacy for Chancellor.
Berlin / Munich – Reacted with Hanseatic composure SPD *-Candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz to all questions about his opponents in the Union. Soder *? Lashing *? He’ll take it as it comes, says the Federal Minister of Finance. We meet Scholz for an interview – via digital conference. He in the office in Berlin in front of the flags, we in the conference room in the Munich editorial office. A conversation about Corona*, Fights, candidacies.
Munich Mercury: Do you already have a vaccination? Or at least a vaccination appointment?
Olaf Scholz: No. But when it’s my turn I’ll get vaccinated. And I’m looking forward to it.
Many German citizens are angry about the slow vaccination rate. They also?
Of course, everyone wants things to go faster. At the moment – there is no need to talk about it – there is not enough vaccine available. So I was very insistent to order more vaccine now. The EU has now also ordered many cans.
Everyone wants things to go faster. “
Delivery date: sometime.
Delivery is one question, vaccination itself is another. It is important to prepare it conscientiously. When finally enough I.vaccine * is there, it has to be done quickly. In the second quarter, several million citizens have to be vaccinated every week – that requires significantly higher capacities than we have at the moment. Everyone who is responsible for this in the country must prepare well for this crucial phase. It must not happen that we have enough vaccine doses but too few Vaccination appointments.
Do you have the impression that not every federal state is prepared for it?
The capacities are large, but probably not yet sufficient.
Was the capital error the wrong assessment of the EU Commission when ordering vaccines? Have you been ripped off by Macron *?
I don’t want to speculate there. We asked the Federal Minister of Health a whole series of questions about this. Answers have been available for a few days – we will follow up if necessary. One thing is very clear: it would have been better if Europe had used every opportunity earlier to order as much vaccine as was possible. The vaccine issue is a top priority.
The vaccine issue is a top priority.
Her party colleague Heiko Maas advises that vaccinated people should be given back their basic rights. Is he right?
One after the other. Unfortunately, it is still too early for this debate. First of all, we have to clarify, for example, whether those who have been vaccinated cannot infect others.
Let’s talk about the corona strategy. Harmless question: is Angela Merkel doing great?
Answered harmlessly: We all do it great together in Germany: Citizens, hospitals, administration.
There is also criticism from the SPD of Merkel that the experts before the decisive rounds in the Chancellery would be invited unilaterally – almost only supporters of the lockdown.
Several experts from different areas with different points of view were recently invited. That is progress. Some have advised us to take a close look at where our measures work and where they don’t. I take that very seriously.
And – where do you have to improve?
First of all: It is right and necessary that we Lockdown have extended it again until February 14th – as stressful as it is for all of us. We are even stronger Home office, the medical masks replace scarves and everyday masks made of fabric to offer even more protection. And we want to support those who cannot afford the necessary masks themselves. What is very important to me: It must finally work to protect the homes better and enough for residents, visitors and carers Rapid tests * to provide. It has to get better.
As Vice Chancellor, what measure do you say: Oops, it doesn’t help?
That will be us scientist will probably be able to explain exactly in five years’ time. Leadership means making decisions even with uncertain data. You can’t avoid that if you want to govern well.
The lockdown has just been extended. However, the incidences are falling. Do you understand the growing impatience among the people?
Naturally. Each and every one of us would like to have this behind them, me too. The good news: the measures are working. Infections are finally falling significantly. That varies from region to region – the values in Bavaria are still very high – but the trend is correct. Now we have to persevere, but we mustn’t reopen too early because that would reverse the trend. The bad news is that with the more aggressive Mutation* there is a risk of a higher infection rate, as shown by experience from Great Britain, Ireland and currently Spain. That’s why we have to push the infection numbers down as far as possible. As troublesome as it is, it will save lives.
We come over the mountain.
Are we over the mountain?
We come over the mountain.
Each month of lockdown costs a double-digit billion sum. Is it right to wait for the incidence of 50 or won’t the finance minister soon say: 100 is enough too, let’s unlock it?
You cannot decide that based on purely accounting criteria. This question is about life and limb. Incidentally, anyone who opens too early risks high follow-up costs. As Federal Minister of Finance, it is important to me that, thanks to our solid budgetary policy of recent years, we have the financial strength we need to take vigorous action against this crisis.
What do you say to the young people who complain that the next generations will have to pay off the Olaf Scholz mountain of debt?
That we handle money very sensibly and responsibly. Last year we took out 130 billion euros in new loans to finance the aid. Additional loans will also be needed this year. With a view to public finances, however, it is also clear that after this crisis Germany will have a lower level of debt than the other large industrialized countries before the crisis. And at the same time we are investing in the modernization of our country, in the expansion renewable energies, in e-mobility, hydrogen technology and we drive it digitalization Ahead. Our country will emerge stronger from the Corona crisis. That’s important to me.
Let’s look to autumn, the choice. Who is the more dangerous opponent for you – Laschet or Söder?
Oh, I’ll take it as it comes. There are so many people in the Union worrying about this that, to be honest, I don’t have to worry much. The SPD came up early for me as Chancellor candidate decided. We are fighting for a result with which I can become Chancellor. And if I can trust the surveys, many Germans think I can do that too.
Perhaps – in terms of popularity, however, Söder leads nationwide. How come
I am happy about my values, others are happy about theirs – that’s okay.
Söder dreams of black and green in public, and with fervor. Do you see that as an affront?
No, dreaming is allowed even if I don’t know how many people share his dream. I am committed to a country that is characterized by mutual respect, good wages for the many heroes of the Corona crisis, a permeable education system and good career and life opportunities for everyone, not just for people with a degree. The SPD gives the best answers to this.
Dreaming is allowed.
Before the last election in 2017, the SPD said that under no circumstances would they make a Groko. The result is well known: a Groko. Will you categorically rule it out again in 2021?
This federal election will be the first in more than 70 years in which no incumbent will run. At the same time, a large number of parties will be represented in the Bundestag. If you want me as Chancellor, you have to vote for the SPD. We have to tackle the future with courage. Unfortunately, conservatives and liberals believe that everything will be decided correctly on its own and that a strong market will take care of everything on its own. The pandemic in particular shows that this is a mistake.
You are a rather middle-class candidate for Chancellor. Why don’t you promise: Hey, we certainly won’t rule with the extreme left?
I am promoting a social democratic program. For more respect and a future program for the 20s. All parties who want to join my government must answer themselves and the voters whether they are capable of governing. * Merkur.de is part of the Ippen-Digital editorial network.