"These measures help everyone"

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Angela Merkel at the business summit "These measures help everyone"

"The best thing for business is for us to be on top of the pandemic," stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel at the online Süddeutsche Zeitung "Wrtschaftsgifpel" or business summit on Tuesday. She said she was optimistic that 2021 would see robust economic growth after a slow stretch in winter.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks by video link at the Süddeutsche Zeitung "Wirtschaftsgipfel" or business summit.

Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the Süddeutsche Zeitung "Wirtschaftsgipfel" or business summit.

Photo: Bundesregierung/Denzel

It’s important to act swiftly and to act early

Germany has learned during and with the pandemic how important it is to respond swiftly at an early stage to infection trends, stated Chancellor Angela Merkel. She declared unequivocally, "If we were to wait until all the intensive care beds are full, it would be too late". The new recommendations, in particular reducing private contacts, are "an imposition on democracy" and are demanding a lot of people. The situation remains very serious: 30 to 40 per cent of the population are in a high-risk group. It is important to protect them, and every individual can do their bit, said Angela Merkel on Tuesday.

The way out of the crisis

The German government expects significant economic growth in 2021. But that depends on us getting the pandemic under control, the Chancellor pointed out. The low numbers of new cases in the third quarter of 2020 allowed the economy to bounce back. "The best thing for business is for us to be on top of the pandemic," declared Angela Merkel. The coming winter will, however, "be tough for some branches" including hospitality and the cultural sector. That is why the German government is supporting affected businesses, companies and self-employed individuals with extensive economic assistance. The short-time work allowance is ensuring that jobs are not lost, and that skilled workers can be retained. At European level, a recovery fund is to be established to mitigate the effects inside the EU.

When making decisions about restrictions to address the pandemic it is important to weigh up economic, social and ethical considerations. It is not only about deciding for heath and against business or the cultural sector, but about reconciling the imperatives of health and business, and health and culture. "These measures help everyone," stressed Angela Merkel.

One of the leaders in vaccine development

On Tuesday, Angela Merkel also mentioned the positive news about the development of a Sars-Cov2 vaccine. She said the fact that a German company is among the leaders in the moves to develop a vaccine is a "light at the end of the tunnel". The availability and the effectiveness of a vaccine will determine how much longer the pandemic shapes our lives. The Chancellor did, however, make it clear that vaccination will not be mandatory.