The pandemic as a historical turning point

Government question time The pandemic as a historical turning point

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel took part in a government question time session in the Bundestag for what was probably the last time during her term of office. In her opening statement, she also addressed the current coronavirus pandemic, saying she believed it had required an enormous effort on the part of society as a whole.

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks in the Bundestag

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel faced questions from members of the Bundestag for the last time.

Photo: Federal Government/Schacht

The infection situation was encouraging, said Merkel at government question time in the Bundestag on Wednesday. She added that the situation was delicate when it came to easing restrictions, however. Summing up the current coronavirus situation, she said: “We must avoid being careless and reversing the significant progress we’ve made together.” Although it had been possible to avoid overloading the health system, the past weeks had been exhausting and many people had suffered, she said. The Federal Chancellor also thanked the “doctors and nurses who have given their all to save lives”.

With regard to vaccination centres, Merkel said she believed they should continue to be kept open, noting that mobile vaccination teams had proved effective, too. Commenting on the continuation of the vaccination campaign in the coming months, Merkel said: “To a certain extent we have to reach out to people.” All citizens were to receive the offer of a vaccination by the end of the summer, she added, saying that young people were not to be given higher priority.

Climate protection and pensions

On the subject of climate policy, the Federal Chancellor sees Germany as being on the right track, though she believes swift action is necessary: “Time is short. We’re not there yet. But we’ve come a long way.” 

She said that in order to secure pensions in the long term, more employment opportunities would have to be created and harnessed more effectively. This would ensure that the pay-as-you-go pension scheme would continue to serve the country in the future. The Federal Chancellor also recalled the fact that the basic pension was introduced precisely out of respect for what many people had accomplished over the course of their working lives.

Government question time sessions in the Bundestag involving the Federal Chancellor are normally scheduled during the weeks before Easter, before the summer break and before Christmas. There were a total of three such question time sessions last year. The first one this year took place on 24 March.