VMany citizens are afraid of a lonely Christmas. Unlike in the past, there is less pressure due to the demand for a perfect festival or full city centers, but rather due to the worry that family members could fall ill or that the holidays only have to be celebrated in small groups or even alone because of the pandemic. This is also shown by a current Forsa survey on behalf of KKH Commercial Health Insurance.
Statements by Friedrich Merz were also made public on Saturday. In an interview with the “Tagesspiegel”, Merz warned the federal and state governments against maintaining the strict corona restrictions over Christmas. “You can say in mid-November that Christmas can take place in families,” he said. That should not be questioned. “Personally, I say: It is none of the government’s business how I celebrate Christmas with my family,” says Merz, who, like Norbert Röttgen and the North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet, is applying for the CDU chairmanship.
On Wednesday, the Chancellor and the Prime Ministers want to decide at a federal-state meeting – after adjourned decisions last week – whether the partial lockdown will be extended or even tightened. Initially, it was limited to the end of the month; Until then, leisure and cultural activities were suspended throughout Germany. Bars, cafes and restaurants are closed. On Friday, the “Berliner Morgenpost” and the business magazine “Business Insider” reported, citing country groups, that the measures currently in force could possibly be extended to December 20th and the winter holidays nationwide extended to January 10th.
Christmas without grandparents?
The further action against the pandemic should therefore continue to be disputed in the coming days, also because the number of infections is not yet falling as much as hoped. Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) said on Saturday to the newspaper “Welt” that the exponential growth was broken, “the breakwater is working”. But not everyone shares this view. After a sharp increase in new infections every day in October and early November, the value has recently been comparatively stable. But it was not until Friday that a new high was reported with 23,648 cases. On Saturday, the Robert Koch Institute reported almost 23,000 new infections – a good 500 more than the previous Saturday.
Various CDU politicians still consider celebrating in the family circle to be possible and desirable. The goal must be to celebrate a Christmas that comes close to this claim, albeit on a modest scale, said Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmaier on Saturday on Deutschlandfunk. But this can only be achieved if the number of infections is sustainably reduced in the coming weeks. “For me it is inconceivable that the grandparents do not celebrate at Christmas,” said Chancellery Minister Helge Braun the editorial network Germany. More important than the number of people who come together is “that you reduce your contacts beforehand and make sure that nobody has symptoms”.
Federal Minister of Health Spahn had already advertised on Twitter for the citizens’ understanding last week. The pandemic remains an imposition, even at Christmas, he wrote. Now is not the time for larger company parties, “but we all want to celebrate Christmas with the family as normally as possible”. This must be done at a greater distance than usual, “but no less contemplatively. We will continue to take care of each other.
Günther: We won’t send the police on Christmas Eve
The Schleswig-Holstein Prime Minister Daniel Günther was also optimistic. The citizens would be able to celebrate “as they are used to from the past few years – as long as they have not made lavish parties and huge family celebrations out of it,” he told the “Bild” newspaper on Thursday. A Christmas party “in a small family circle” is possible and appropriate; Günther said the police would certainly not be sent on Christmas Eve to check compliance with the corona measures. With his appeal for a Christmas with the family, Merz was largely in line with his party colleagues – who, however, refrained from a tip against the state corona policy.
Merz ‘statement that it is none of the government’s business how he celebrates Christmas angered the board of the German Patient Protection Foundation on Saturday. “This is exactly the method to stir up frustration in the population because of the corona rules,” criticized Eugen Brysch. Merz could not say today whether he will be elected CDU chairman. Brysch added, somewhat smugly, that he is now demanding that those in charge of politics determine what Christmas will look like in the pandemic.
The incumbent party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer commented not directly at Christmas, but on the responsibility of applicants for the CDU chairmanship. She accused Merz, but also his competitors Laschet and Röttgen, of a “ruinous competition”. This falls “first and foremost on the candidates themselves, but also on the CDU,” she told the “Augsburger Allgemeine”. She exhorted applicants to a fair discussion out of consideration for the party. “I expect someone who wants to become chairman to put everything he does in the interests of this party. Even if he is only a candidate. “
Merz rejected Kramp-Karrenbauer’s criticism: It was a “completely normal party-political selection process for the leadership of the CDU” – in which Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will apparently also play a role in the coming weeks. With a view to the turn of the year, Merz expressed himself more cautiously to the “Tagesspiegel”: “New Year’s Eve parties cannot take place,” he said.