Federalism and COVID-19: the German model put to test

As Germany is constituted as a federation, it is primarily the federal states (Länder) that have been shaping the image of pandemic control in Germany. In the absence of a declaration of a state of emergency, the Länder managed the crisis caused by COVID-19 mainly on the basis of administrative law instruments. Although an attempt was made to avoid a dispersion of measures to combat COVID-19 in the different Länder especially by means of (informal) cooperation and coordination models between the federal government and the Länder, these were not always successful and sufficient. In order to counter the criticism of the lack of coordination, the federal Government and the German Parliament changed the relevant legislation, especially the Infection Protection Act, several times. However, serious doubts have been raised on whether these changes made with the objective to centralize the crisis management are constitutional.