German Mayor Rene Wilke wrote himself a denunciation of non-compliance with the social distance prescribed by the Ministry of Health: at the opening ceremony of the border with Poland, he hugged a colleague from the Polish town of Slubice. Now he’s waiting for a fine of up to 25,000 euros.
la joie était trop forte lorsque de la réouverture de la frontière germano-polonaise. Le maire de Francfort-sur-l'Oder (de face) est tombé dans les bras de son homologue de Slubice. René Wilke a porté plainte # lui même & demandé 1 enquête pour non respect des #gestesbarrieres pic.twitter.com/vb5uqI7P16
— Pascal Thibaut (@pthibaut) June 15, 2020
On the night of 12 to 13 June, on the border between Poland and Germany, residents of the Polish city of Slubice and the German city of Frankfurt am Oder celebrated the opening of the border between the two countries on the border bridge. The heads of the two cities – Mariusz Olejniczak and Rene Wilke – spontaneously embraced each other. On Monday, the official website of Frankfurt Mayor’s Office posted an official announcement stating that “the photograph depicting this embrace has flown over Germany, Europe, and the world, becoming a symbol of the joy of a new encounter, the inviolability of friendship and ties between people and nations after severe coronavirus restrictions”.
At the same time, city hall officials admitted that the hug violated sanitary regulations, which are mandatory in Germany. In this particular case, it is an obligation to maintain a social distance of at least 1.5 meters, in accordance with the order of the Ministry of Health of Brandenburg on 23 May. “Therefore, Mayor Rene Wilke himself sent a report of his violation to the City Health Department, stating that the case should be examined without regard to the position of the perpetrator. The decision on the legal assessment of the report itself is expected this week,” the report says. Now the mayor is facing a fine of up to 25 thousand euros.
Rene Wilke himself explained his behavior in this way: “There was something relaxing about this situation. This gesture was not planned, but it was very important. However, it was a violation of the existing rules, and I must answer for it like any normal citizen in such a situation.
But the mayor of Frankfurt-Oder’s trouble will probably not end there. The German media report that he may also be prosecuted on another issue. There is a ban on mass gatherings in Germany, and the bridge at the time of the celebration, at the invitation of the authorities of both cities, was attended by far more than 50 people, few followed the distance and wore a mask.