It is a challenge that the Bundestag is not alone in facing: How can you keep your distance in Corona times and still include those who are not vaccinated in a meeting? Parliament passed new, stricter corona regulations on Tuesday. The 2-G-plus rule applies. After that, only those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered are allowed to take an additional test in the plenary hall of Parliament and in the halls where the committees meet. But all MPs should still be able to attend. Those who are not vaccinated or have not recovered can take part from the grandstand at a distance. But what if there is no grandstand?
On Wednesday morning, the AfD MP Joachim Wundrak had to leave the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag. The former Bundeswehr general had informed the committee chairman Michael Roth (SPD) in the morning that he had not been vaccinated, and he was sent out. The necessary distance rules could not have been implemented in the meeting room at short notice, Roth later explained his decision on Twitter.
Wundrak went under, as he puts it, “quiet protest”. He feels his rights as a member of parliament have been curtailed, he says, because he was unable to attend the meeting. He is not a fundamental opponent of vaccination. “Everyone should decide for themselves. It doesn’t make any sense to me.” If at all possible, he wants to stick to it.
His case was reportedly an exception this week. Other parliamentary committees found solutions to keep the prescribed distance. This is particularly easy in the plenary hall of the Bundestag, where the unvaccinated find their place on the stands. AfD members who have been vaccinated or have recovered also took part in the Foreign Affairs Committee. According to party circles, the majority in the parliamentary group has been vaccinated or recovered. This decision is a private matter, says a spokesman.
Sarah Wagenknecht also criticizes the new rules
There is no uniform position on vaccination in the AfD. However, the parliamentary group rejects the Corona regulation as a whole, saying that this regulation is “completely disproportionate and legally questionable”, criticized parliamentary group leader Tino Chrupalla. All other factions, on the other hand, expressly supported the decision. The parliamentary director of the SPD parliamentary group, Katja Mast, explained in the session in the Bundestag that the new rules would preserve the functionality of the Bundestag.
The left is also on this line. However, the former parliamentary group leader Sahra Wagenknecht was critical. “Not going to the restaurant is still a luxury problem, not being able to be in the plenum anymore, I see it as a real exclusion of people because of their vaccination decision, which cannot be epidemiologically justified,” she told the “Welt”. According to Wagenknecht, he is not vaccinated.
The AfD MP Wundrak should be able to attend the next committee meeting again. According to reports, a way had already been sought this time to enable his participation. It has been heard from MPs that they were considering getting an interpreter’s booth for him. A spokesman for the parliament explains that the secretariat of the committee is trying to find a solution for the next meeting that allows all committee members to participate within the framework of the Corona regulations.