- The far-right Alternative for Germany accused Merkel of using the health crisis as a leeway to carelessly spend taxpayers’ money.
- Merkel dismissed the opposition’s allegations.
- She also reiterated that she would not run for a fifth term as Chancellor.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel today defended her government’s performance, in as far as fighting the coronavirus pandemic is concerned. While addressing the country’s members of the Bundestag, Chancellor Merkel argued that Germany did well, compared to many of its peers.
During a budget debate in the Bundestag, Germany’s main opposition party, the far-right Alternative for Germany, accused Chancellor Merkel of using the health crisis as a leeway to carelessly spend taxpayers’ money, and promoting what it described as “socialism.”
The Chancellor, however, dismissed the opposition’s allegations, and said that despite creating an unprecedented stimulus package and breaking the rules on loans, Germany continues to have the lowest public debt in comparison to other countries in the Group of Seven, the most industrialized nations in the world.
Germany, like many of its European neighbors, has witnessed an increase in the number of infections by COVID -19 in recent weeks. Today, Germany announced 1,798 new cases across the country in the past 24 hours.
In total, the country counts 289,219 cases of COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, and almost 9,500 deaths from the coronavirus. That number represents a quarter of the registered figures in the United Kingdom and Italy.
Won’t Run For a Fifth Term
During the speech at the German Bundestag, Merkel also gave an assurance that she won’t run for a fifth term as chancellor next year, and argued that pandemic recovery funds should be invested in future-oriented technologies and industries that will help address the climate change and strengthening the economy of the future.
Before ending her speech, Merkel addressed the public directly, urging people to follow the rules imposed to limit the spread of the virus in order to avoid a second confinement in the country. The Chancellor explained that the pandemic is not over, and stated that autumn and winter will be “difficult times ” to face.
“We are not at the end of the pandemic,” Merkel told lawmakers. “We have a difficult time ahead of us in autumn and winter.”
Social distancing and hygiene rules “doesn’t just protect the elderly, not just the so-called ‘at-risk persons,’ but our open, free society as a whole,” Chancellor Merkel said. “For now we have to show that we can continue to act patiently and reasonably, and thereby save lives.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more than a million deaths and more than 33.4 million cases of infection worldwide, according to a report prepared by the French news agency, AFP. The disease is transmitted by a new coronavirus detected in late December in Wuhan, China.
The United States currently accounts for a fifth of all cases of and deaths from COVID-19. In terms of cases, six of the top ten countries are in North and South America, and three of the top four countries in terms of deaths are from the same region.