After Wednesday’s emotional general debate, the budget for the Ministry of the Interior and Health is being discussed and argued today. Follow the debate live here.
In the budget debate, Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn campaigned for additional restrictions to get corona infections under control. “There must be a complete closure in society for all of us at the turn of the year,” the CDU politician said in the Bundestag on Thursday. After the partial lockdown that began in early November, the following can be seen: “With what is now, we will not achieve our common goal.”
For most, New Year’s Eve is a quieter time anyway, schools are closed, so additional restrictions may apply. At the same time, however, this does not mean that “until then everything will be maximal again”.
“Difficult phase” in the pandemic
Spahn spoke of a “difficult phase” in the pandemic, in which “the worst of three worlds” converge: in addition to the high number of infections, there are billions in costs for economic aid and “many citizens are tired” after several weeks of restrictions. In regions with a very high contamination rate, decisive action by the government with additional measures is now required.
In addition, however, there is also general “civil personal responsibility”, for example, with distance, wearing a mask and hygiene as the key to success. “These expectations, the government, the prime ministers, they should decide something and then it would get better on its own, it won’t work.” Spahn stressed that the vast majority of people participated. “The country stands together patriotically.” For this it is important to promote cohesion and not to defame or spread conspiracy theories.
The Minister of Health also made a statement: Currently, about 50 percent of corona reports are sent digitally, the rest by fax. Digital sending will be mandatory from January 1, 2021, says Spahn.
“Budget for the immune system of our democracy”
Previously, Parliamentary Under Secretary of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Günter Krings (CDU), defended the record budget for the department. “Because it is a budget for the immune system of our democracy,” Krings said in the Bundestag on Thursday during the debate on the internal budget for 2021. Expenditure of just under 18.46 billion euros is planned for the coming year, Krings said. an increase of EUR 3.3 billion.
Among other things, this would reach the additional 7,500 positions for the security authorities agreed in the coalition agreement between the CDU, CSU and SPD, Krings said. In the debate, he represented Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU), who was quarantined as a precaution after contacting an employee who tested positive for the coronavirus.
“This is a security risk”
SPD deputy leader Dirk Wiese accused the coalition partner of blocking the planned constitutional protection law. “That’s a security risk,” said Wiese. The project is “important to the security authorities in the fight against extremism”. The CDU interior expert Thorsten Frei, however, rejected the charge that his parliamentary group prevented the law from being considered. “We can immediately introduce the amendment to the federal constitutional protection law in plenary next week – we as the union faction are ready immediately.”
Left party leader André Hahn accused the coalition of setting dubious priorities: “More than half a billion euros is available for BND’s own surveillance satellites. There is reportedly no money for salary increases for nursing staff in homes and hospitals.”
The Green Group’s spokeswoman for migration policy, Filiz Polat, complained of failures in the field of immigration and integration. She dismissed deportations to civil war countries such as Syria as “irresponsible”.