1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Germany's president urges solidarity in face of pandemic

Leah Carter
April 11, 2020

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called efforts to curb coronavirus a "test of our humanity." It is the first time a German president has formally addressed the nation on television other than at Christmas.

Deutschland Berlin | Coronavirus | Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Bundespräsident
Image: Getty Images/Bundesregierung

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on the nation to show patience, discipline and solidarity in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, in a rare televised address aired on Saturday. 

"The solidarity that you show every day now, we will need all the more of in the future," he said. 

Read more: Coronavirus: German president calls for global alliance

The crisis has brought out "the best and the worst in people," he added.

Steinmeier also called on individuals to adhere to the measures in place to prevent the spread of the virus.

"How things will continue and when and how the restrictions can be relaxed, will not be decided by politicians and experts alone." The crisis had brought out "the best and the worst in people," he said.

Nations are not against nations

In response to comparisons of efforts to tackle the pandemic to war, Steinmeier called the measures a "test of humanity."

"No, this pandemic is not a war. Nations are not against other nations, soldiers against other soldiers. It is a test of our humanity."

Read more: Merkel — Coronavirus is Germany's greatest post-war challenge

He also predicted that society would be drastically changed by the crisis. "We don't want to become an anxious or distrustful society. But we can be a society with more trust, more consideration and more confidence," he said. 

The German president additionally called for international solidarity across the European Union. "Germany cannot come out of this crisis strong and healthy if our neighbors do not also come out strong and healthy," he said.

The speech marked the first time that Steinmeier formally addressed the nation on television, other than at Christmas time. There was no broadcast presidential speech even immediately after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. Sign up to receive it directly here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (in lilac tie) is escorted from the House floor after a Tuesday afternoon vote
Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage