Leader of Germany's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) Friedrich Merz attends a press conference following the regional election in the southwestern federal state of Saarland, in Berlin, Germany, on March 28, 2022. (Photo by Michael Sohn / POOL / AFP)

CDU leader Friedrich Merz sharply criticized Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) after the initial talks on the concerted action. Scholz lacked political leadership and “didn’t have any answer,” said Merz on Monday on the “Welt” television station. “Basically, he just repeated what has been said again and again in the past few days and weeks and has garnished himself with the two top representatives of the employee representatives and the employers.”

Germany needs “clear political leadership,” said Merz. “After this statement today, however, you have to ask the question: Where is this leadership?” The “description of the situation is not yet a solution to the problem,” said the CDU leader. Scholz had “raised completely different expectations” beforehand and “unfortunately did not give any answer, even after this conversation today”.

Scholz also failed to demand more cost discipline in these times of crisis and to reduce national debt. “We have a very well developed welfare state,” said the CDU leader. “And it wouldn’t have sent a bad signal if the Chancellor had said today: We can’t do more than what we currently have – now we’re concentrating on overcoming the crisis.”

The president of the social association VdK, Verena Bentele, on the other hand, called for new measures for pensioners and caring relatives in the “Rheinische Post” on Tuesday. “This time, pensioners and all other people who are currently not employed, such as caring relatives and recipients of sickness or parental benefit, must not be forgotten again.”