Germany wants to become independent of Russian energy as quickly as possible. The Prime Minister is also concerned with the issue. Her meeting with the Chancellor will also deal with Corona.

Concerns about Germany’s energy security are the focus of the conference of the prime ministers of the federal states on Thursday (12 noon) in Berlin.

The country heads are discussing the ongoing Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and the consequences for Germany’s energy supply. First they keep to themselves, in the afternoon they meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). The federal and state governments are also talking about the corona pandemic and preparing for a possible new wave of infections in autumn and winter.

Wüst demands a strategy for energy security

North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) called for a comprehensive energy security strategy in Germany as a consequence of the Ukraine war. “At the Prime Ministers’ Conference, we will discuss how Germany’s security can be strengthened in a comprehensive sense,” said Wüst, who is currently Chairman of the Prime Ministers’ Conference (MPK), the German Press Agency.

Germany must become independent of importing Russian energy as quickly as possible. “That’s why we have to speed up the expansion of renewable energies.” It is also important for Germany’s security to “avoid dependence on authoritarian regimes in the future,” said Wüst. “To do this, we need to diversify our energy sources and work even more closely with our partners in Europe and the United States.”

The federal government is aiming to become largely independent of Russian gas by summer 2024. She fears an economic crisis if imports are stopped too quickly.

Call for timely Corona plans for the fall

The traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP is already struggling for new state corona protection requirements such as mask requirements for autumn. Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) is preparing a strategy for an expected increase in infections in the colder season. In addition to a new vaccination campaign, test rules and the use of medication, this should also include renewed changes to the Infection Protection Act, which expires on September 23.

There are increasing calls for early clarification as to which corona measures should then be possible. The Saarland Prime Minister Anke Rehlinger (SPD) demanded that a new regulation should “not be made until the last moment again”. “We now have to examine the toolbox with which we can react to a possible worsening of the infection situation in autumn,” she told the editorial network Germany (RND).

Wüst also put pressure on: “It is important that the federal government, in coordination with the federal states, adapts the basics for combating the pandemic in good time before autumn,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group (Thursday). You have to draw conclusions as to “which protective measures were successful and will continue to be promising in the future”.

Municipal association: make mask requirements and 2G rules possible

With the amended Infection Protection Act, general mask requirements for events or when shopping, as well as 2G and 3G access regulations, have been abolished since the beginning of April. For the time being, “basic protection” applies – for example with mask requirements in buses, trains, clinics, practices and nursing homes.

The Association of Towns and Municipalities called for an “effective anti-corona plan” for the autumn. Managing Director Gerd Landsberg told the RND that “national uniform measures should be possible again if the situation should deteriorate”. “Instruments such as the obligation to wear a mask in public spaces, distance rules and contact restrictions as well as 2G or 3G regulations should be possible under clear conditions.” There are also calls to make masks compulsory in schools again.

However, leading FDP politicians had insisted on waiting for a planned scientific evaluation of previous corona measures before making a decision on the future course. Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) also called for a decision by the Prime Ministers’ Conference that there should no longer be any nationwide school closures. “Children and young people must not bear the brunt of the pandemic again,” she told the Funke newspapers.

Compulsory insurance for natural hazards

Another topic: Baden-Württemberg and Saxony want to introduce the reintroduction of compulsory insurance for natural hazards for all building owners in the Prime Ministers’ Conference. After the flash floods and flooding in several regions in North Rhine-Westphalia and Rhineland-Palatinate in the summer of 2021, a debate broke out about how damage from flood disasters could be better protected. The justice ministers of the federal states had recently examined the question of whether compulsory insurance violated the constitution. On Wednesday, the conference of justice ministers cleared the way, as the Baden-Württemberg department head Marion Gentges (CDU) confirmed to the “Stuttgarter Nachrichten”.

Two press conferences planned

For the first time since the annual conference in October 2021 in Königswinter, the heads of government are meeting again in person. Following the state talks, Wüst, Berlin’s head of government Franziska Giffey (SPD) as MPK deputy chair and probably the chair of the broadcasting commission, the Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD), want to appear before the press. After the federal-state talks with the chancellor, Scholz, Wüst and Giffey want to inform the public about the results.