Rule through without headwind from parliament: This was made possible for the federal government in the first year of the Corona crisis with the so-called “Law on the Continuation of the Epidemic Situation”. The regulation is still an important part of the federal government’s fight against pandemics. This Thursday, the Bundestag will vote on an extension of the law. From March 31, it should apply for another three months longer. But the opposition does not want to go along this time.
For too long one felt like an insignificant “subsequent advisory body”, as opposition ranks put it. That is why the Greens, the left-wing parliamentary group and the FDP do not want to agree to all points of the law and show that only nodding off is no longer.
Corona continues, but a plan is missing
The law will be voted on in two parts. The first grants the federal government and ministers far-reaching powers that allow them to issue ordinances that deviate from the law. The opposition wants to lift this part so that in future Parliament will be more involved when it comes to combating corona. “The planned changes to the Infection Protection Act grant the Federal Ministry of Health far-reaching statutory powers that can be issued without the consent of the Bundestag,” says the health policy spokeswoman for the FDP parliamentary group, Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus.
In addition, one wants to limit the special rights of the government and ministers and expects “comprehensive statutory information obligations of the federal government vis-à-vis the Bundestag”, so it says in an application by Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen. The opposition factions want to be informed in writing about further plans. “There must be more decisions in the Bundestag,” says Britta Haßelmann, Parliamentary Director of the Greens. That requires democracy and the rule of law.
Courts overturn measures by state governments
As proof that not every regulation is as sustainable as it was thought from above, the opposition cites the numerous court decisions by means of which individual measures have already been overturned: the curfews in Baden-Württemberg, demonstration bans in several cities or one general mask requirement as in Düsseldorf.
Instead, the Greens, the Left and the FDP are making the government accountable. A step-by-step plan is needed, it is actually long overdue, so that it is bindingly understandable for the citizens according to which criteria can be opened, according to the Greens.
FDP, Greens and Left reject part of the law
However, there are differences in the approach of the opposition factions: In contrast to the AfD, the Left, Greens and the FDP want to agree to the second part of the Corona law. With the “determination of the epidemic situation”, the three opposition factions generally acknowledge that Germany is in a difficult position to fight the pandemic and that this situation is ongoing, i.e. Corona is not over yet.
The parliamentarians are therefore trying on Thursday to regain part of their raison d’être in the bow waves of the corona pandemic. The Bundestag should again actively intervene as legislator.