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Steinmeier: ‘We Need to Keep Our Distance Out of Responsibility’

In Germany, the Chancellor, Federal Ministers, First Ministers and the President take turns talking to the nation about the situation in the Corona crisis and the requirements. This morning, it was President Steinmeier’s turn.

The President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, addressed the nation on Wednesday. His partner Elke Büdenbender was part of the video message too. Steinmeier said the Corona pandemic changed “our lives and our coexistence” completely. “We need to keep our distance from each other out of responsibility for each other”, he stressed. This was required out of human sympathy, but it was not easy.

‘Families Gaining Strength’

“We are not allowed to see those who need us most”, the President stated. “We cannot visit them at the hospital or the nursing home, and this tears our hearts apart.” But it was necessary to keep a distance here too, in order to protect them. “Showing them that we are close to them anyway overexerts us”, Frank-Walter Steinmeier stated.

Elke Büdenbender and Frank-Walter Steinmeier addressed the nation together. Photo: Bundespräsidialamt

He addressed the Germans directly by saying “Most of you understand that restrictions are necessary and existential during these times, and you deal with them. Many families are gaining strength in this crisis.”

Single Parents Affected Most

Elke Büdenbender does not usually address the nation. In this case she did. “Our new daily routine is tough”, she said. “Who cares for the children when the parents need to work?”

“One thing is very important to me”, Büdenbender told the nation. “We should not forget those who were affected by the crisis most, including single mothers and single fathers, as well as singles whose need for closeness cannot be fulfilled.” She stated families who lived in small places and who feared for their existence should not be forgotten either.

Steinmeier Thanks Volunteers

Elke Büdenbender also mentioned women and children who are victims of abuse at home more these days. She said there were authorities that could be contacted for help, and organizations for people in distress.

Both she and President Steinmeier thanked all volunteers in Germany who help those in need. “We want to thank all of those who are helping”, Steinmeier said. “You are demonstrating what solidarity really means and what keeps our country together.”

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