Berlin (dpa) – Four weeks before the federal elections, the three candidates for chancellor of the CDU / CSU, the SPD and the Greens had a first exchange of blows on all important electoral issues.
At the Triell of broadcasters RTL and ntv, Armin Laschet, Olaf Scholz and Annalena Baerbock held an opposing discussion on Sunday evening on topics such as foreign and security policy, corona strategy, the fight against climate change or politics fiscal. In addition to the differences, similarities also emerged.
After the catastrophe of NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, Laschet, Scholz and Baerbock unanimously called for the strengthening of Germany’s role in security policy. Laschet reiterated his call for a National Security Council linked to the Chancellery. “We will have to better equip our Bundeswehr,” he said.
Baerbock accused the federal government of slipping into Afghanistan. “You have placed domestic political motives above the responsibility of foreign policy,” she said. Baerbock criticized the Foreign Ministry’s failure to issue visas quickly enough for people in need of protection.
Scholz, whose party friend Heiko Maas heads the Foreign Ministry, called for increased international cooperation and the availability of Bundeswehr soldiers for peace and security protection missions in the future. He said that with him as Minister of Finance, the defense budget amounted to more than 50 billion euros. “The wrong time for the Bundeswehr was in the black-yellow coalition,” said Scholz.
All three candidates for chancellor have spoken out in favor of avoiding further large-scale daily restrictions due to the corona pandemic. Scholz said there were now so many vaccinated that it could and should be said very clearly: “There will be no new lockdown.” However, it is important to remain cautious, for example with masks and access to interiors only for the vaccinated, tested and convalescing.
Laschet also spoke out in favor of doing everything possible to prevent a lockdown. “I also think it’s realistic.” Baerbock explained: “From today we don’t need a new lockdwon.” The three candidates to succeed Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) have also campaigned to improve the vaccination rate.
At the same time, differences in specific crisis measures became clear between the candidates. Scholz and Laschet rejected a possible compulsory vaccination for certain professions such as medical personnel or the police. Baerbock said: “As of today, no. But this should not be ruled out for the future. “
Scholz and Baerbock have come out in favor of requiring proof of vaccination, recovery or negative test for long-distance train journeys – the federal government is currently examining this issue. “The wish of me and the Chancellor is that it works,” Scholz said. Laschet raised, among other things, legal concerns and said: “First consider carefully, then decide”.
Children in the pandemic
Baerbock demanded that the federal government take more responsibility for children and families in emergencies such as the corona pandemic. “This is why the federal government should, in the future, for example, participate in the financing of air filtration equipment in schools or daycare centers (…).” Addressing the outgoing coalition of the Union and the SPD, the green politician said: half are. “
Laschet countered that Baerbock was fooling citizens when they said the federal government had failed to secure schools. “It’s a matter of state, and the Greens co-lead in eleven countries.” Scholz did not accept the accusation that financial support for air filters in schools was difficult because of him as finance minister. “The means have been and have been available for a long time.
SPD chancellor candidate Scholz stressed that now is not the time to cut taxes for high-income people. Rather, people in his income bracket should pay a little more to fund tax breaks for those who earn less. Scholz advocated an increase in the top tax rate of three percent.
Baerbock also spoke in favor of putting more weight on the stronger shoulders. We cannot simply accept that one in five children in Germany lives in poverty. Basic family allowances must be put in place, which will cost around ten billion euros.
Laschet said there is a fundamental difference in the fiscal policy of the SPD and the Greens. To simply say that the taxes of the rich should be increased is insane and utterly false.