‘I think it’s an anachronism’: Ampel discusses new children’s rules in the Bundestag – Politics

The picture itself is not amazing. In the room of the Bundestag committees, the Green Party politician Anton Hofriter spoke into his microphone, before him a bell that, as Chairman, could ring the Europe Committee if necessary to calm the situation. So far, very normal. But next to the bell is a small toy car and a drinking bottle, and his 15-month-old son is sitting on a huffretter.

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The image was spread from the Bundestag’s live broadcast, which was posted on Twitter by a Bundestag employee on Monday. For many, the image looks like a symbol of a more modern Bundestag that combines the harmony of politics and family.

But the reality for many parents in politics is not entirely positive. During session weeks, members of Parliament are often away from their children, the working day often starts early, and sessions of the Bundestag often last into the night. Although there is a daycare center in the Bundestag, traffic light parties seem to see the need to keep up with the Bundestag’s children’s rules.

“We must see if the rules of the Bundestag are modern enough,” said FDP Parliamentary Director Johannes Vogel, in response to the photo of Hofriter. He listed the parental leave regulation as a member of Parliament, but above all banned children in the plenary of the German Bundestag.

Representatives are allowed to bring their children to meetings only in very exceptional cases. to vote by roll-call and only thereafter if this is agreed upon and the Presidium of the Bundestag is present. “I think this is an anachronism,” Vogel says.

Johannes Vogel would like to allow children to attend the full session of the Bundestag.Photo: Photo Alliance / dpa

In other countries, this has long been a matter of course. In New Zealand, for example, MP Tamati Kofi brought his one-month-old baby to session in 2019. As Kofi chimed in on the debate, the Speaker of Parliament took on the task of babysitting and bottle feeding.

“What works in committee rooms must also work in plenary.”

If Johannes Vogel had what he wanted, this should also be possible in the German parliament. “What works in the committee rooms should also work in the plenum,” says the 40-year-old. But until now there was only a playroom next to the completed Bundestag hall, which also contains a breastfeeding corner for mothers. For the new system, the rules of procedure of the Bundestag must be changed.

But Wolfgang Kubicki, a friend of Vogel in the party, vehemently rejects this: “I think it is wrong to give members of the German Bundestag, who are already privileged, more special rights,” the deputy head of the Bundestag told Tagesspiegel. It is also not possible for employees of the Bundestag to take their children to plenary sessions. With “a much above average income”, it should also be possible for MPs to organize childcare.

Wolfgang Kubicki vehemently rejects the new procedural rules.Photo: Michael Cappeler / D

On the other hand, Vogel received support for his proposal from the Green Party. “Balancing children and work will remain a huge challenge in 2022,” the parliamentary group’s fiscal policy spokeswoman, Katharina Beck, told the Tagesspiegel newspaper, and she has a young daughter herself, whom she takes to events from time to time.

[Lesen Sie mit Tagesspiegel Plus: Mit Kindern an die Macht? Fünf Politiker über den Spagat zwischen Karriere und Familie]

As a member of the Bundestag, you have the option of your own day care centre, breastfeeding room, playroom and care rooms suitable for your parliamentary group. “However, there are some requirements for attendance at very late times, often spontaneously, as it is not always possible to organize care immediately,” Beck says. She notes that society still has “a lot of catching up to do when it comes to juggling child and work”.

Anton Hofriter himself did not want to comment on the picture and the circumstances. However, it does not appear that it was a PR campaign. The 51-year-old was often seen with the stroller in Parliament, and as the leader of a parliamentary group, he also took a break after giving birth. “It’s daily life for us to take his son to meetings from time to time when he’s not in the nursery,” Hofriter’s office says only of the photo.

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