The heads of government of the federal states end their annual meeting of the Prime Ministers' Conference (MPK) on the Petersberg near Bonn at noon.

In the early afternoon, the outgoing North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) - who only took over the chairmanship of the MPK at the beginning of October - and MPK deputy chairman Michael Müller (SPD) want to present the results.

Like Laschet, the previous Governing Mayor of Berlin will move to the Bundestag in the coming week.

Pure burger

Political correspondent in North Rhine-Westphalia.

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One of the main topics of the meeting was the fight against the corona pandemic and its economic and social consequences.

On the table of the prime ministers was a draft resolution agreed by the heads of the state chancellery on the further legal safeguarding of protective measures.

In it, the prime ministers insist that the practiced indoor hygiene standards - such as the so-called 3G rule, mouth and nose protection, distance, ventilation - are also fundamentally necessary in the autumn and winter months.

In the past few days, politicians and experts had controversially discussed a move by Federal Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) to expire the so-called epidemic situation of national scope at the end of November.

Demands for transition periods came from the federal states.

Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Söder warned of an alleged legal loophole if it does not come to an extension.

The state health minister, Klaus Holetschek (both CSU), made a similar statement on Friday in the newspaper Augsburger Allgemeine.

For expanding the home office

However, Spahn had already pointed out the possibility that protective measures could also be ordered at state level in the future. Experts also contradicted the Bavarian representation that with the end of the "epidemic situation" there would be no legal basis for further corona measures. The special protective measures listed in the Infection Protection Act would no longer apply if the emergency came to an end, said the administrative lawyer Hinnerk Wißmann, who teaches in Münster. "However, the federal states, which are already responsible for this, can continue to use the powers if the state parliaments decide." respective state parliament decides.

The state of North Rhine-Westphalia brought two of its own - also previously agreed - draft resolutions to the MPK. The first is entitled “Lessons from the Pandemic - Resilience of the State, Administration and Economy to Crisis”. The common goal of all levels of government must be to strengthen Germany's resilience to crises in order to be even better prepared for something similar, it says. Among other things, the paper recommends "establishing complete supply chains in Europe in the medium term in crisis and system-relevant sectors". Europe is to achieve greater independence from the world market “by promoting domestic production beyond the health sector”.

In addition, the heads of government advocate expanding the home office.

The pandemic has shown that location-independent, digitally supported work has often worked much better than was generally expected at the beginning, according to the draft resolution.

"The federal states want to seize the opportunities offered by an expanded range of home offices to make work design more flexible and to improve the compatibility of work and family and, not least, to use it to strengthen the attractiveness of the public service." Home office and other forms of mobile work would offer special potential for rural areas.

Data protection should not be an obstacle

In the joint draft resolution, a critical review of the payment modalities for immediate and bridging aid to the self-employed and entrepreneurs is announced. In the case of the emergency aid programs, the federal states “had to face the conflicting objectives of an unbureaucratic and rapid disbursement of the funds and the simultaneous prevention of abusive applications”. "In order to quickly provide emergency aid in the event of disasters and at the same time effectively prevent fraud, an analysis of the application portals used by the federal government and the individual states as well as the measures taken against the improper access of services in the sense of a best-practice comparison is required" , it says in the draft resolution. It should also be taken into account to what extent it has been possible toto automate and thus accelerate the application processes. "Because the digital procedures of the Corona aid have aroused expectations for many other funding programs." The analysis is to be commissioned by the economics and finance ministers of the federal states.

The second resolution proposed by North Rhine-Westphalia is entitled “Using the pandemic-induced digitalisation boost”. It states that the experience with Corona has shown "that burdens due to protective measures could best be cushioned where there is a high level of digitization competence". The pandemic also made it clear that “there is a need to offer barrier-free, standardized or compatible” digital solutions that can be used very quickly across borders.

In the development of digital instruments, the integration of important functions should not be foregone from the outset out of concern for data protection, for example if these could be secured under data protection law and optionally used by a (qualified) consent of the user, the draft resolution obviously says with a view to the considerable start-up difficulties of the federal corona warning app.

Keywords: states, prime ministers, armin laschet, heads, home office, corona measures, conference, improvements, michael müller, jens spahn, bonn, government, chairmanship, corona pandemic, meeting