Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has expressed concern about the shocks and upheavals in society caused by the corona pandemic. “This pandemic has left its mark,” said the Federal President on Thursday at a panel discussion as part of the Catholic Day in Stuttgart. “She developed a dynamic that I didn’t expect either.”

There have been conflicts and arguments at work, in families and in clubs. In view of the dynamics, he had often wondered how such an irreconcilable nature could be introduced into the language overnight and when dealing with an illness.

Because the traces remained and the wounds had not yet healed, Steinmeier demanded that dialogue be sought with those who had been lost. “And maybe you have to forgive each other for some of the things that have been done,” he added. “The pandemic is not an illness that can dominate us.” There are other challenges such as the Ukraine war and climate change that society must learn to deal with.

According to the Federal President, as a lesson from the pandemic, Germany must increase the number of its trading partners. “We will not be able to reverse globalization. We won’t want it either,” said Steinmeier. However, the process of globalization cannot continue as before. “We only do business with where we can shop cheapest – at least that’s the concept that has no future.”

Steinmeier went on to say: “We will have to expand the number of countries from which we get raw materials and preliminary products as much as possible in order to be able to react better in crises like the one we are now.” The pandemic has made it clear how risky it is of being dependent on an exporting country like China. For example, 80 percent of the active ingredients in medicines are manufactured in East Asia, primarily in China. This also applies to plastic precursors and rapid corona tests.

The Catholic church festival with 1,500 events is taking place again in person for the first time in four years. However, far fewer participants than usual are expected in Stuttgart by Sunday, around 25,000. Among them are 7000 contributors alone. 90,000 people came to the 2018 Catholic Day in Münster.