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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Germany / Germany –

Source: Federal Ministry of FinanceDate 25.03.2020Location German Bundestag [The spoken word applies!] Dear Mr. President! My honorable Members of the German Bundestag! Dear Sir or Madam, Let me convey the warm regards of the Federal Chancellor to this House in advance, who would have liked to be there today and would have spoken. But you know she can’t do that today. I think I can also send warm regards to your home office on your behalf. We are currently experiencing a crisis that has been unprecedented in the history of the Federal Republic. The crisis is big – bigger than the crises we have seen recently. It is also a fateful challenge for all of humanity. There are still no effective therapeutic measures against the disease, and this is a particular challenge for everyone who is infected. But it also shows how vulnerable we are as human beings, and it also shows that political models are wrong, which follow the motto that everyone is best coped with on their own. What we need now is solidarity. We also see the pictures every day and hear the reports not only from Asia and America, but very directly from our neighborhood: from Italy, Spain, France, Austria. Combating the effects of the corona virus is the common challenge of the global community. That is why Germany will stand alongside its European partners, especially during this time. It is not for us alone. We stand together and I want to say explicitly: we don’t forget the poorest countries in the world. In this situation, too, they are particularly dependent on our help, but the pandemic is also a national challenge. We are asked to show that open and liberal societies have the inner strength to deal with such special situations. Yes, we restrict freedom of movement. But we rely on the enlightened understanding of the citizens. Yes, we demand a lot from everyone. But we do that because democratic governments in the federal and state governments agree on it. And it is good that we are accompanied by free media and a critical public. Public and social life in our country is restricted so that the spread of the virus is slowed down. The effects can be felt everywhere: compulsory education is suspended, vacations have to be canceled, weddings have to be postponed, and entire sectors of the economy can no longer do their business. Most of the citizens understand these measures and they adhere to them. But still: there are hard weeks ahead of us. And yet: we can cope with them. We already notice that. Many of us improvise. We experience new forms of work and communication. Some – creative people, for example – develop new ideas for dealing with the situation. Others help their neighbors in everyday life; a crisis accelerates change and creates new things. Maybe we’ll take some of it with us as a learning experience when we get back to normal. But first of all, many have great concerns about their income, their professional existence or their company. As politicians, we currently receive a large number of emails, letters and calls in which the situation is described by individual citizens, by small businesses, by associations. Supply chains are broken, shops and restaurants are closed, orders are canceled. Ladies and gentlemen, in this situation, we as the Federal Government are doing everything necessary and everything possible to mitigate the economic and social consequences of crisis management. There is no script for this. There is no ready-made plan that we can simply follow now. In an incredibly short time, almost all areas of our society and economy have to be looked at and clever answers have to be developed whenever new questions arise. On Monday in the Federal Cabinet we decided on a large program for crisis management. My thanks therefore go to the state governments and the members of the German Bundestag – certainly on behalf of the members of the Federal Government. I would like to thank you for being ready to negotiate this package under great time pressure and to decide later. Thank you for that! There are currently three main tasks: Firstly, we must ensure good health care for people with corona and ensure that everyone who treats them is protected; Third, we need to stabilize our economy and preserve jobs. And we do that with an enormous amount of money, very quickly and as precisely as possible with various measures. Protection of health is at the forefront. We help the men and women in the hospitals and laboratories, make sure that our health care is up to the challenges – now with another 3.5 billion euros, with the procurement of protective equipment and the development of vaccines – and we support the hospitals , so that the capacities for corona patients can be maintained and further expanded. We want to double the number of intensive care beds – 28,000 in Germany – secondly. Nobody should worry unnecessarily about their home and their livelihood. We have a very well functioning basic security system in Germany that guarantees exactly that. And those who currently have no income temporarily, for example as a self-employed person, should use this basic security. We facilitate access by overriding principles such as mediation priority, property assessment or checking the adequacy of the home. We also simplify the payment of the child surcharge so that families who suddenly have less money can get along well. A further help is that we also make regulations as part of the protection against infection, what happens when there is no longer any income security but you have to look after the children at home. We legally secure all of this. Those who are currently unable to pay their rent due to the corona crisis must not be given notice now. As legislators and governments, we have a duty to help citizens in this situation, and thirdly, we are stabilizing the economy. It’s about securing jobs. We have now focused on the measures that are tailored and can work quickly. That is why, for example, in a first step – since you also quickly adopted the relevant laws – we changed the regulations on short-time work benefits, the instrument that helped us a lot in the last crisis. We provide the companies with liquidity. We cleared the air in tax enforcement by reducing tax prepayments and deferring taxes without interest. We have also dramatically expanded KfW’s lending programs, and we are also noticing that this is now working. Thousands of applications have been submitted, and many have already been approved. And despite all the difficulties that are always reported back: Now it’s everyone’s turn, so that it also works, so that the companies don’t run out of steam come, a program for solo self-employed and small entrepreneurs. For example, it is about restaurateurs who can no longer open their business but have to continue paying the rent. There are grants of up to 15,000 euros for small businesses. We will launch the program together with the federal states so that it can be implemented quickly and without red tape, ladies and gentlemen, and here too we add legal certainty to loans and grants. Nobody should have to file for bankruptcy immediately because they are now facing payment difficulties, and we are creating the basis for most, mostly larger, companies with the Financial Market Stabilization Fund Act by converting the fund into an economic stabilization fund Can support equity capital in this crisis. This is also a very massive stability signal. Anyone who has heard and read how it was received in Germany and around the world knows that this was an important and necessary sign. My ladies and gentlemen, the federal government and the federal states cannot carry out these tasks from the current budget or from the reserves finance. That is why we are introducing a supplementary budget to the German Bundestag today, which provides for net borrowing of 156 billion euros. That is a huge sum, almost half of our normal household for a year. And because that is such a large sum, the Bundestag has to make the decision today whether it will make use of the exception provided for in the Basic Law’s debt rule in the event of an exceptional emergency. Because we need the money to do everything we can to counter the social and economic consequences of the crisis, and we rely on your support, ladies and gentlemen, we can afford it. Germany has the highest credit rating on the financial markets, also because we have been very solid in the past few years, have worked with foresight and have low debt levels. It is important that our help arrives quickly where it is needed. That is the contribution that we as a state can make. But it would not be effective if many citizens did not do their utmost. That is why we would like to thank all doctors and nurses, the sales staff and bus drivers and many, many more. They are doing great things these days, and much of what the federal and state governments decide, which we are going to decide on these days, can only be implemented if there are functioning state structures in place. Therefore, we would also like to thank the employees in the employment agencies, the job centers, the health offices, the police officers and many, many other people there too. Again, we have hard weeks ahead. We can overcome them if we show solidarity. The federal government is taking care of this – the fight against the virus, the economic framework and the foundations of our free society. But it takes more than the government. We all have to take care of each other. Then we’ll get through it, thank you.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure need be perfect.

MIL Translation OSI