“The coronavirus has no nationality,” tweeted the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs.
Lhe German Foreign Minister on Saturday condemned verbal attacks or harassment suffered recently by French people on the move in the German border areas, less affected by the Covid-19.
“The coronavirus has no nationality. It’s the same with human dignity. It hurts to see how our French friends are sometimes insulted and attacked because of the Covid-19. Such behavior is not possible. We are in the same boat! “Tweeted Heiko Maas.
He echoed a statement by the Minister of Economy of the Saarland, a region bordering the Great East of France, Anke Rehlinger, who recently apologized on behalf of Germany.
“We hear that the French are insulted and that eggs are thrown at them. Anyone who does this sins against the friendship of our peoples, “she said on April 8 on the same social network. “I apologize to our French friends for these isolated incidents,” she added.
Most of the facts go back to March. At the time, several city mayors of Sarre, a region bordering northeast of France, were outraged at French people in the region, in the context of the new coronavirus pandemic.
That of Saarbrücken, the regional capital of Saarland, Uwe Conrad, deemed them “unacceptable”. Michael Clivot, mayor of the small German town of Gersheim, also noted “a certain hostility towards our French friends” in his region.
“Some are insulted and arrested in the street”, “some French people no longer dare to come here”, he was alarmed in a recent interview with the news site t-online. With several of his colleagues, he addressed his constituents in video messages posted on Facebook.
French people approached him to say that they had been spit on them during walks or at the supermarket checkout. One of them heard “Go back to your corona country!” “, He explained.
The French consulate in Saarland, Catherine Robinet, confirmed on Saturday to AFP the reality of “isolated” incidents in March targeting French people in this German region, after the decision of the German health authorities to declare the French Grand-Est area at risk for coronavirus.
Hostile comments had also been noted on some internet forums. She said that “several French housekeepers” working in Germany for a cleaning company, some for years, “were denied entry into their businesses overnight” and were “shocked”. A French woman who came to buy paracetamol in a German pharmacy heard herself say at the counter “Why are you coming to buy it?” aren’t there in France? “
Another resident in Forbach in the Moselle had come to visit her sister living in Saarbrücken. While she was in a department store, before their closure in Germany due to a pandemic, someone called out to her: “You have nothing to do here, go shopping in France! “
The consul of Sarre however called for not to “generalize” an anti-French feeling. She said that she had also received numerous messages of sympathy at the same time and stressed that “the reverse is also true” with the moody reactions of some French people in France against the Germans. Germany and France have reintroduced border controls due to the pandemic, but exceptions are made for frontier workers.
With more than 2,000 people officially deceased, the Grand Est region is the first source of contamination in France, while its German neighbor, Saarland, only counts 41 victims officially listed by the Robert Koch institute.
Overall, Germany has a much lower mortality rate than France for a similar number of proven cases.