Chancellor in the ARD summer interview: Merkel rejects Scholz's advance on the pension and compulsory military service

From compulsory military service through pensions to lane changes for asylum seekers: Merkel is against the new proposals.


August 26, 2018, 6:12 PM
updated 24 minutes ago

Berlin Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has clearly rejected a reintroduction of the military service in connection with the discussion about a general service obligation. "I do not want to re-introduce conscription," Merkel said on Sunday in the "summer interview" of the ARD program "Report from Berlin". The inspectors from each branch of the Bundeswehr had reassured her at a recent meeting that the demands on the soldiers had changed in the past.

Regarding the first debate of the Secretary-General Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on the introduction of a service for everyone, Merkel said she wanted to discuss in the party how social services could be made possible "not as an emergency solution for non-existent healthcare providers ". Merkel supported the initiative of its Minister of Economic Affairs, Peter Altmaier (CDU), which seeks a legal right to a voluntary year. If the young people wanted to, the state should offer them this opportunity.

Not only the reintroduction of compulsory military service was a subject in the ARD summer interview. A summary:

SPD push for retirement

The SPD's insistence on guarantees at the pension level until 2040 also rejected Merkel. "Please do not wake up the uncertainty, that is my request to the SPD," Merkel said. By 2025, according to the coalition agreements, there would still be "absolute clarity". For the time being, see what a recently commissioned expert committee proposes. "At the moment I think I share something different every day, it makes the uncertainty bigger than safety."

Deputy Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) campaigned for pension guarantees until 2040, while the Union is protesting. However, Merkel announced an early agreement on initial pension improvements. "We are really in a good way." After their meeting with Scholz and CSU leader Horst Seehofer, decisions have to be made with the leaders of the group. "That will happen very quickly."

The coalition is currently struggling for an agreement to pave the way for a first pension package from Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD). It provides improvements for mothers and people with reduced incomes, as well as relief for low-paid workers in social contributions. In addition, the current pension level of 48 percent by 2025 should be stabilized.

Deportation of Sami A.

In connection with the debate about the illegally deported Islamist, Sami A. Merkel warned against calling into question the independence of the courts. "If this independence from the institutions in the country is no longer respected, democracy would no longer be complete," Merkel said. "That's why you have to be careful."

The Minister of the Interior North Rhine-Westphalia Herbert Reul (CDU) had accused the judges, they do not have enough of the legal sense of the population. He later regretted the statement. The Upper Administrative Court of Münster had determined that Sami A., who had been deported to Tunisia and was considered a threat by the security authorities, had to be returned to Germany.

Merkel demanded: "We must respect the court's decisions." Here "nothing should slip away". Great care must also be given in the language to the respect for the institutions and their independence. "Because democracy is more than just somebody getting a majority in one way or another," the Chancellor said, calling it the protection of minorities, the freedom of the press, demonstration opportunities and independent courts.

Police against journalists at Pegida demo in Dresden

In connection with the controversial action of the police in a Pegida demonstration against a ZDF team on 16 August, Merkel said it was very important that the Dresden police commissioner spoke to the ZDF team and found clear words. The Saxon Premier Michael Kretschmer (CDU), who initially praised the action of the police on Twitter, could not prescribe what he had to do. But Kretschmer will certainly include the latest events if he is asked for a response. But she does not doubt that "Kretschmer really has a high press freedom".

Job change in asylum policy

Considerations for a so-called lane change rejected asylum seekers on the German labor market gave Merkel a rejection. "You can come to bring out the signal, and it's not different, I do not think that's right," she said.

It creates a false picture, if the impression is created, that you come as an asylum seeker or refugee and then simply change the track in the direction of a shortage of skills. Merkel referred to an existing residence permit for people who have been allowed to work here for two years after completing an internship. In addition, there is one in the discussion about a Fachkräftezuwanderungsgesetz. This was a huge step for the Union after decades of being banned.

The "change of lane" in fact means that asylum seekers who are rejected and only tolerated but well integrated and have a job can remain in Germany through immigration legislation.

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