The German Finance Minister told CNBC that now is not the time to consider the full opening of the German economy, but the time to strictly limit and keep the coronavirus infection rate low, adding that wealthier families will soon pay more taxes.
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz told CNBC’s Annette Weisbach on Tuesday: “There is no open time. Now is a very difficult time to keep the infection rate down.”
Europe’s most powerful economy has been plagued by the coronavirus pandemic, facing different waves of infections and subsequent blockades. According to data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), by 2020, the German economy will shrink by nearly 5%, while this year it will only grow by 3.6%.
At the same time, opposition to public health messages from national and regional leaders has further complicated the situation.
For example, the leader of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, said on Monday that a lockdown should be imposed across the country. But only last week did he ask for flexibility so that leaders of various countries can fight the pandemic as they see fit. Prime Minister Angela Merkel also overturned the Easter embargo plan.
Scholes said: “If we can take similar measures everywhere, it will help a lot and make it easier to understand.”
In Germany, more and more people are calling for a more unified approach to combat the coronavirus. While the infection is on the rise, residents in various regions are frustrated with the different arrangements.
Merkel herself has called for a more rigorous and unified approach across the country, but so far, regional leaders have not been able to achieve this.
According to data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Germany has recorded more than 2.9 million Covid-19 cases and 77,103 deaths as of Tuesday.
At the same time, people are worried about the speed of vaccine launch. According to ECDC data, as of Monday, 22.8 Covid-19 injections were distributed for every 100 residents in Germany. This is lower than France, Cyprus, Ireland and Hungary-just to cite the broader European Union as an example.
In addition, due to reports of thrombosis, German health experts decided last week to suspend the use of Oxford-AstraZeneca shooting for people under 60. This may become another obstacle to wider promotion, because more people are now eligible for this injection vaccine, and the number of available vaccines is still relatively limited.
In an interview with CNBC, Scholz was confident about the coming weeks and months of the Covid vaccine.
He said: “I think that by the end of this month, there will be 4 to 5 million doses per week.”
He added: “I think this will make the necessary progress, which is why we must be strict now, because if we strictly reduce infections, then vaccination will be easier to succeed.”
Schultz, a senior figure in the German Social Democratic Party, has previously stated that Germany needs to take all necessary measures to get rid of the crisis caused by the coronavirus.
Germany is expected to borrow more than 240 billion euros ($283 billion) this year to support the economy. This issue is controversial among fiscally conservative lawmakers. Germany has maintained a long-term record of its fiscal position, and legislation in 2009 stipulated that the government must not incur large amounts of new debt.
As more experts believe that the government needs to continue to provide stimulus measures, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the dynamics of Germany’s debt.
Schultz told reporters at the end of last month: “We will continue to do whatever is necessary. This is expensive, but doing nothing will result in higher costs.”
But with more borrowing, there will be more taxes.
Schultz said that Germany “will have the opportunity to overcome all the burdens caused by the fight against the coronavirus in the next few years and achieve better growth,” he added: “Obviously, there is no opportunity to reduce taxes on the rich. Up. People or large companies.”
He said: “There is a need for tax relief for low- and middle-income families, but obviously, those who are very wealthy, have high incomes and companies cannot expect tax cuts,” he said.
Germany is preparing to hold a national election in late September. Merkel has served as minister of Europe’s largest economy for 16 years, and she said she will not seek re-election for a fifth term.
He said: “I am sure that changes will take place after the next election. As everyone knows, I will run for the next prime minister. Our party hopes to lead the next government, and the opportunities are increasing.”
German Finance Minister and Deputy Chancellor Olaf Scholz (Olaf Scholz).
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