Updated: June 23, 202118:44
Chancellor Angela Merkel answered questions from the Bundestag for the last time – and once again showed her art of ironing out questions. Several laughs included.
Berlin – After 16 years, the Angela Merkel era * ends in autumn – the beginning of the Chancellor’s long farewell was to be examined in the Bundestag on Wednesday. Merkel faced a government survey one last time. The balance of the round: A little self-criticism on the subject of pensions and climate change, like on the assembly line seemingly effortless answers to reproaches from the plenary. And finally, extremely dry closing words. One could say: Finally, once again Merkel, as she lives and rules.
Merkel provokes laughter in the Bundestag: “Does that agree with your knowledge?”
In any case, the members of the Bundestag * could hardly embarrass Merkel. In quick succession, the outgoing Chancellor answered the inquirers’ inquiries, reproaches and, in some cases, election campaign maneuvers. Every now and then, however, the dry counterattack that was so characteristic of Merkel could be experienced: the 66-year-old permanent head of government presented her answers politely and objectively, but at times almost provocatively dry. A hint of difficulties could at best be inferred from replicas with a particularly technical style.
“Well, if you haven’t looked it up …”
The chancellor’s rhetorical weapons were felt among others by the parliamentary manager of the SPD, Carsten Schneider, and the left-wing parliamentary group. “I would reassure you,” said Merkel Schneider, who had recognized a vote of no confidence in Finance Minister Olaf Scholz * in the Union’s election campaign after a “cash drop”. “Well, if you haven’t looked it up …”, she added when asked about the loan requirements for the following years – and read the current status of the planning coolly. “Does that agree with your knowledge?”, She asked with laughter from the plenary.
Merkel irons leftists on the subject of rent – and has to laugh at Baerbock’s question
A hint of irritation was evident when the Left MP Caren Lay asked about a rental freeze. “First I would point out that where the left is in government, for example here in the capital, the situation does not differ significantly from other federal states where it is not part of the government,” Merkel shot back. “And you didn’t win in court either. So. ”“ That’s not cynical, that’s a fact, ”she added after an interjection.
After all, there was a moment of astonishment when the Greens asked whether Merkel would not prefer another Chancellor as successor – that is, Annalena Baerbock *. Merkel laughed: “Look, I am of the opinion that after 16 years of Angela Merkel the citizens are mature enough to decide for themselves who they want as Chancellor – or as Chancellor.”
Merkel confronted with AfD questions: Chancellor counters once with facts – and once flees into the technical
Elsewhere, Merkel gave a cupped presentation on the entire progress of the international climate negotiations over the past decades. “Well, I was the Minister of the Environment at the time,” she said at the beginning with a smile. The Chancellor responded to a request from the AfD about PCR tests with a high-pressure fact refueling.
Angela Merkel on the move: The Chancellor explains the difficulties of PCR testing – in full
“If you look at the PCR value of a sick person, then it builds up and then it decreases again after a peak. In other words, if you were to do a PCR test every day during the course of the disease, you would always have a certain curve and there are parts of it under 25 and parts of it are over 25, so sometimes you get into the contagious area and is then again no longer contagious. And the only question is, did we – and we only had a finite number of PCR tests available – perhaps told some people to quarantine three or four days too long? However, with a PCR test in which you can find out one hundred percent whether someone has the disease, you cannot say whether the person is on the ascending branch of the PCR value, on the descending branch of the PCR value – if it goes the other way around You have to think about my hand movements the other way around – but at what stage of the infection is it. Therefore, I believe that we have acted largely responsibly with regard to the availability of PCR tests. “
At the beginning of the government survey, the AfD had clearly presented the Chancellor with a challenge. MEP Albrecht Glaser asked about the reaction to an EU infringement procedure. In essence, it is about the question of whether the Federal Constitutional Court can put EU law in its place – a legally open and sensitive question. Merkel took refuge in the technical: “We have indeed received a so-called request for information from the European Union on the facts you have described and the Federal Government intends to answer this request for information in accordance with the information requirements for Parliament,” was the answer, apparently taken directly from the administrative instruction.
Historical Chancellor Survey: Merkel admits omissions in the Bundestag
The most important tangible findings of the one-hour question marathon could be summarized very quickly: Merkel is against a higher retirement age – but admitted that after her long reign, an additional pillar of old-age provision for poorer earners is still pending.
Merkel also sees major unfinished business when it comes to the climate. “When I look at the situation, nobody can say that we have done enough,” said Merkel in the cross-examination of the Bundestag. “Time is of the essence,” she continued. “I can understand the impatience of young people.” Only shortly beforehand had the cabinet put together a climate package – which, according to her words, Merkel herself does not find sufficient.
Overall, however, the Chancellor was satisfied with what had been achieved. With the expansion of the high-speed Internet one need “not to put the light under a bushel”. Many people suffered from the corona measures and a final assessment is still pending. Support for young people is now still essential to cushion the consequences. However, “a lot of things have been done right – even in an international comparison”.
Merkel takes care of “tumbling thoughts” and fights with the “flickering” – the last words are cool
In the previous – and slightly delayed – debate on the Bundeswehr’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, the SPD MP Christoph Matschie had left the Bundestag quite emotionally. It’s not that far with Merkel anyway. But the Chancellor’s last words in a government survey already spoke of a completely different basic emotional state. Bundestag Vice President * Petra Pau (left) said with regret that the round could not be extended. Merkel’s reaction was anything but tearful: “Thank you for acting according to your rules.”
When I have so many thoughts in my head, I just have to be careful not to mess them up. “
The fact that Merkel is still struggling with the demands of parliamentary operations at times could only be seen once. Pau pointed out to the Chancellor that the “flickering” yellow light – which Merkel had previously complained about – indicated the approaching end of the response time. Merkel explained her brief irritation about the well-known signal in a humorous way. “When I have so many thoughts in my head, I just have to be careful not to mix them up.” (fn)
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