Opposition demands more coordination in mask production

Berlin – In view of the procurement problems for protective clothing and medicines, the Green Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) accuses the Corona crisis of serious omissions.

“In cooperation with our European neighbors, Germany could quickly start a pandemic industry because so many companies have their guns at their feet,” said Green Party boss Annalena Baerbock of the German Press Agency. “It would actually be the job of the Federal Minister of Economics to gather the players together, support their initiative and, with acceptance guarantees, also ensure the future of investment security.” But Altmaier “apparently doesn’t happen at all”.


FDP faction deputy Michael Theurer joined the Greens criticism. Many companies wanted to help but already failed to find a contact person. “The Federal Ministry of Economics has to act in a coordinating and supportive manner, educate about needs and framework conditions and make constructive suggestions to eliminate bureaucracy.”

The ministry, however, referred to a clear division of responsibilities within the federal government. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Interior, which are responsible for the crisis team, are responsible for the central procurement of protective equipment and the coordination of support offers from the Federal Government in the production changeover.

CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak pleaded that “after the crisis, we think carefully about what we have to do in Germany in order to be even more capable in an emergency””. One has to “think again fundamentally from one place or another in terms of industrial policy,” he said to the “Iserlohner Kreisanzeiger” (Saturday).

Bottlenecks exist especially in protective clothing and breathing masks. To a large extent, they have to be procured on the world market, where there is enormous competition. Again and again, there are reports that the United States is buying protective material ordered from other countries at a multiple price.

It was only on Friday that “Tagesspiegel” and the rbb broadcaster reported that certain masks for the Berlin police had been redirected to the United States. The masks ordered were produced in a Chinese plant of the US company 3M and were flown to the USA instead of Germany during reloading in Bangkok. 3M said the company “has no evidence to suggest that 3M products have been confiscated.”

Baerbock said: “It is now important to create the conditions for steps out of the shutdown in a joint effort.” Production capacities for masks, ventilators and protective clothing are needed. “The Ministry of Economy and Health should work together with the federal states to ensure more production capacity and coordinated procurement in a task force.”


Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) announced on Friday that it wanted to build a domestic production of protective masks. The government has made an offer to the domestic economy to help them build a mask production. It is a matter of security in terms of acceptance and price. Discussions were currently underway with companies from the mechanical engineering and textile industries.

As a result of the corona pandemic, the Bundeswehr think tank GIDS expects strategic reserves to be rebuilt. The crisis uncovered more and more clearly “the lack of substantial, actually legally prescribed resources at the level of the municipalities and the federal states as well as the lack of strategic reserves in terms of personnel, materials, and infrastructure at the federal level,” writes the Hamburg Institute belonging to the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College in one Paper.

Bottlenecks in essential goods such as medicines and protective equipment showed how dependent Germany is on global supply chains «and this even with products that should not be an issue for an industrialized nation that is admired worldwide». “In order to regain strategic autonomy, in future, more attention must be paid to the diversity of the suppliers, to stockpiling and the avoidance of redundancies.”