Berlin (dpa) – Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) comes to the federal press conference today to answer questions from journalists from the capital. It will probably be her last appearance of this kind.
As usual, she will take this opportunity to answer questions on all areas of domestic and foreign policy. This year, the situation in the flood plains, the corona pandemic and the just reached agreement with the US on the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea are likely to be central themes.
Traditionally, the Chancellor goes to the federal press conference at the beginning or at the end of the summer holidays and answers questions in detail. Last year she came after her vacation at the end of August. The central theme at the time was the further course of the corona crisis. This time it will probably be replaced by the flood disaster, especially in West Germany. However, some of Merkel’s answers to the pandemic a year ago still sound very topical.
Merkel will no longer run in federal elections in September and will then retire from politics.
FLOOD: After the devastating flood, Merkel visited particularly affected regions in Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, got her own impression of the damage and promised prompt assistance. “We will do everything together to ensure that the money quickly reaches the people who often have nothing more than what they wear,” said the CDU politician in Bad Münstereifel on Tuesday.
The federal cabinet decided on Wednesday about emergency aid of initially 200 million euros, which can also be supplemented if necessary. Because the federal government wants to co-finance every amount that the states pay as emergency aid in the same amount. There would also be a reconstruction program, estimated to be in the billions of dollars.
CORONA: Due to the flood disaster, the corona pandemic has faded somewhat into the background in recent days, although the development is worrying. The seven-day incidence has been rising continuously for more than two weeks. Most recently, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Wednesday, it was 11.4 – latest on July 6 it was 4.9.
“You have to keep in mind that some things will be even more difficult in the coming months than in the summer,” Merkel said in August last year. Health experts fear that again. And even this nearly a year old phrase from the Chancellor sounds like it’s from today: “It stays the same: it’s serious, still serious – and keep taking it seriously.”
NORD STREAM 2: Gas is to flow from Russia directly to Germany via the nearly completed pipeline – past Ukraine, through which the existing pipeline runs. The US sees the project as a ‘bad deal’ because it increases Europe’s dependence on Russian energy. They also fear that Russia will use the pipeline as leverage against Ukraine. When the Chancellor met US President Joe Biden in Washington last week, the controversy was still unresolved.
A breakthrough came on Tuesday, when Germany and the US issued a joint statement. The two countries want to support Ukraine in building a “green energy sector” and work to secure gas transit through Ukraine over the next decade. It also reads: Should Russia try to use “energy as a weapon” or carry out further aggressive actions against Ukraine, Germany will act at the national level and push for effective measures, including sanctions in the European Union. Merkel had emphasized in Washington: “Our understanding was and remains that Ukraine remains a transit country for natural gas.”