Frank-Walter Steinmeier calls for public ‘debate’ before any comprehensive Covid vaccine mandate is introduced
President Frank-Walter Steinmeier dismissed claims that the coronavirus has turned Germany into a dictatorship as “nonsense”, accusing those peddling such messages of disrespecting the country’s “democracy and the rule of law.”
Steinmeier told a panel on Wednesday devoted to the pros and cons of mandatory Covid vaccinations that such comments, often made by anti-lockdown activists, were a response to theAll of us.“
The president calls on his countrymen and women to respect opinions that differ from his own, while also respecting “facts and reasons,“which”Must be and remains our common currency.“
However, Steinmeier acknowledged that there should be a full public debate before the possible introduction of a national vaccine mandate. He stressed that despite the exceptional circumstances the country faces, it does not mean that it can be done without “Weighing arguments and balancing interests.“
The German president, who plays a largely ceremonial role and doesn’t enact laws himself, says he feels he has a responsibility”Call for public debate on serious issues.“Steinmeier thinks”There is no democracy without debate,“This also applies in times of crisis,” added that the head of state, however, declined to reveal his personal position on the issue of mandatory vaccination.
Given that the German federal government and regional authorities have long explicitly ruled out the possibility of a full-scale vaccine mandate, iron-clad arguments now need to be made if those in power choose to impose such drastic measures, Steinmeier insists. He went on to stress that the introduction of a national vaccine mandate would be an exceptional decision and that both the German government and parliament should treat the issue as such.
The president concluded by saying that Germany has so far successfully continued to weather the pandemic, not because the country has been “Command and guide with an iron fist,” but because “The vast majority have been trying to do the right thing, act responsibly and show solidarity.“
During a question-and-answer session in the German parliament on Wednesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made it clear that he supports mandatory vaccinations for all Germans over the age of 18. Debate on the issue in the Bundestag is expected to begin in late January.