Merkel told Anne Will her patience with state leaders is wearing thin, and signaled her readiness to override them if they failed to act “in the very near future.”
“I have a duty and an obligation to see how we can take action at the national level,” she said. “One possibility is taking another look at the infection protection law and amend it.”
The infection protection law grants the federal government additional powers during a national health emergency. Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, has amended it a few times since the beginning of the pandemic. Critics fear it hands the government too much power and requires increased legislative oversight, although the option is constitutional.
Changing the law to put more power in the hands of the federal government would require signoff from the Bundestag as well as the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament that represents the states. Merkel said she has not yet decided if she will push for the change.
“We are legally responsible to curb infections, and that’s not happening right now,” she said, rejecting an offer to hold another meeting with state leaders. “We don’t need a meeting. We need the states to take action.”