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H.E. Thomas SCHIEB, Ambassador of Germany

Germany’s Resilience and Ability To Cope With The Unprecedented Crisis

The Federal Government and the governments of the Länder, who are the competent authorities for the implementation of all measures of infection control, have taken swift and decisive action to limit the spread of the SARS-COV2 virus.
Tomas Šib Nemački ambasador u Srbiji

Following the recommendation of the European Commission and in close coordination with other EU member states of the Schengen area we have closed our borders for non-essential travels from non-EU countries.

The Länder introduced new regulations that ask people to keep a safe distance from one another and to refrain from gathering in public. Public and private spaces where people usually come together and where it is hardly possible to keep the necessary distance, like hotels, restaurants or hairdressers, were shut down, as were schools and kindergartens. Very strict safety measures have been taken by nursery homes and other institutions harbouring particularly vulnerable groups.

I would like to stress that the overwhelming majority of my compatriots has behaved very responsibly and that it is mostly due to their voluntary renunciation of cherished activities and freedoms that we have managed to flatten the curve. This success is, of course, fragile and reversible and that is why the Federal Government together with the governments of the Länder will very thoroughly evaluate how quickly we can now loosen the restrictive measures gradually without the pandemic getting out of control.

Germany managed to flatten the curve due to the overwhelming majority of  compatriots’ responsible voluntary renunciation of cherished activities and freedoms

We have to bear in mind that all the restrictive measures taken must always be temporary, proportionate and subject to judicial review. For instance, the Federal Constitutional Court recently annulled several bans for manifestations from local authorities because the general reference to infection control was not sufficient to infringe the very basic civil liberty to manifest in public. After appropriate measures were taken by the organizers, the manifestations did take place. In general, though, cases like this have been the exception and we are all keen to gradually regain our normal lives as soon as possible.

The very good news to take away from the Corona-pandemic is that our democratic system based on the separation of powers between executive, legislative and judicial branches as well as the German federalism have demonstrated their resilience and ability to cope with an acute and unprecedented crisis. It also allowed for an inclusive deliberative process in which dissenting voices can make themselves heard and that ensures that decisions are accepted by our citizens.

Because travel restrictions did apply within a very short time and almost globally, the pandemic also triggered the biggest repatriation program in the history of the Federal Foreign Office. More than 290.000 citizens were assisted in returning home to Germany, plus around 5.000 citizens from other EU countries. And this was not the only tangible measure of EU solidarity. German clinics assigned spare capacity to patients from Italy, France and Spain and those patients were transferred by Bundeswehr planes.

Thomas SCHIEB Ambassador

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