- Title: Merkel is healthy, working from home, says German vice chancellor
- Date: 23rd March 2020
- Summary: BERLIN, GERMANY (MARCH 23, 2020) (CORONAPOOL) VARIOUS OF GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER OLAF SCHOLZ AND ECONOMY MINISTER PETER ALTMAIER ARRIVING FOR NEWS CONFERENCE JOURNALISTS SCHOLZ SMILING SIGN IN GERMAN ASKING REPORTERS TO LEAVE AN EMPTY SEAT BETWEEN THEM (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING (on MERKEL): "Regarding your question, the chancellor as of now is healthy except that she is working from her home office like so many others who fulfil the requirement to be in domestic self-isolation. But she is active and we had a cabinet meeting with her today, not by video but we all know each other's voices. Other that that she is being supplied with documents and documents are being picked up and everything is happening the way you should imagine it." ALTMAIER SEATED NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING (on MERKEL): "The chancellor has asked me to speak for her in the Bundestag (parliament) on Wednesday and we will manage this. However, I believe this is a very important sign that this infection can hit everyone of us. We are very vulnerable as human beings and no one is protected from this." SCHOLZ SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING (on ESTIMATED LOSSES): "We can be sure that we will have a decline in economic output. Everybody who goes outside can see this with reduced traffic and everything else we are used to which is no longer happening. We can not accurately estimate the decline. So we took a look at what others estimate and we did calculations ourselves and decided to assume a considerable decline, like during the last financial crisis, of around 5%. We said this means tax deficits of about 35 billion euros." SCHOLZ SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING (on SUPPLEMENTARY BUDGET): "We will present a supplementary budget to parliament this week -- the cabinet just decided that -- of 156 billion euros. This is of a size not achieved in one step before at the start of a crisis before. I think this needs to be mentioned. But it's a necessary and a right step which shows from the outset that we will use all we have to tackle this crisis and that neither the health system or the economic output of our country is put into question." REPORTERS SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING (on JOB PROTECTION): "We will do everything necessary to defend jobs, companies, employment and people's health. We will not hesitate and that's a top priority. Because our budget was sound in recent years and because our country's debt level fell to 60% we are the ones who can do this." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER, PETER ALTMAIER, SAYING (on TAKEOVER ATTEMPTS): "We will intervene in markets as little as possible and keep commercial initiatives as much as possible. But -- and I am saying this to all those hedge funds already looking forward to making bargains: make no mistake about it, we're determined to protect our companies and the many jobs." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS REPORTERS SEATED (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN ECONOMY MINISTER, PETER ALTMAIER, SAYING (on QUICK PAYMENTS TO GERMAN COMPANIES): "Of course we also determined the requirements and our aim, together with the German states is to administer this aid programme in a way that first payments can take place quickly." REPORTER TAKING NOTES (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING (on DOUBLING HOSPITAL BEDS): "We have decided that the number of intensive care hospital beds in Germany which today stands already at 28,000 should be doubled and this must be organised, financed and prepared and everyone must concentrate on that." SIDE VIEW OF SCHOLZ SPEAKING (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER, OLAF SCHOLZ, SAYING (on JOB PROTECTION): "With short-time work we are ensuring that jobs can be kept which also costs many additional billions. We will ensure the income of families with children by facilitating access to the already existing child supplement. Those who earned a lot before but now earn only little are also entitled and this too is an additional measure we must make use of." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
- Keywords: budget coronavirus costs economic impact olaf scholz peter altmaier
- Reuters ID: LVA001C69V87B
- Location: BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Duration: 00:05:30
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: German Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday (March 23) Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Sunday went into quarantine after coming into contact with a coronavirus-infected doctor, was healthy but working from home.
Scholz also said he would speak in Merkel's place in the Bundestag lower house of parliament on Wednesday.
Scholz, who is also finance minister, was speaking during a joint news conference with Economy Minister Peter Altmaier where they announced a supplementary budget of 156 billion euros ($166.51 billion).
Scholz said the decision underlined the government's determination to use "all we have" to tackle the social and economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Economy Minister Altmaier told reporters Germany wanted to get aid to companies struggling with the impact of coronavirus quickly, adding Berlin was ready to protect firms from unwanted takeovers with a new fund during the crisis.
"Make no mistake, we're determined to protect our companies and jobs," Altmaier said, adding that this message was directed at hedge funds.
The German cabinet earlier on Monday passed a draft law which envisages up to 100 billion euros ($107.47 billion) for an economic stability fund that can take direct equity stakes in companies.
(Production: Coronapool, Michele Sani)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Embargoed:6th April 2020 13:31
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None