Categories: Politics

G20 Venice: It’s going well for Olaf Scholz

Seldom have the scenery and the expected result been as coherent as at this last international appearance by Federal Finance Minister Olaf Scholz before the federal election. For the first time in 18 months, the finance ministers of the powerful G-20 countries will meet again physically, this Friday and Saturday, in the glittering lagoon city of Venice, of all places.

The arsenal shrouded in secrecy in the Serenissima has become the stage on which the SPD’s candidate for chancellor will remind voters back home that there are applicants for the Chancellery who have to grapple with allegations of sloppiness or the accusation that they have little program to offer to have. And him who takes care of the content.

From this meeting in Venice, says Scholz on the plane – the lagoon city can already be seen, the seatbelt signs have long been switched on, but he still has to get rid of that – “three important signals” will go out. The most powerful economies planned to do more for the global vaccination campaign, the global south should get enough vaccines. Germany is already showing solidarity, only the USA would provide more money. Has he taken care of. So it works, from a German point of view.

He personally tries to get the next signal as soon as the plane has landed. Scholz runs to the speedboat and manages to get to the arsenal on time. There he advertises in front of an international audience for promoting an international climate club in which the countries of the world agree on climate protection. In English, speaking freely. The climate club is also one of Scholz’s ideas that was ridiculed when he first presented it. As if there weren’t enough committees already. But lo and behold, meanwhile the number of fans is increasing.

Something is moving there – and Scholz has his share in it

“It can’t be,” says the candidate with conviction, “that all states are now doing something to protect the climate and then start a tariff war because they fear that companies will migrate to areas without climate protection.” According to information from Süddeutsche Zeitung the Scholz idea will make it into the G-20 final document, which is to be adopted on Saturday. “We agree that closer international coordination of climate action could help achieve our common goals.” Another check mark.

The third tick would probably not have been thought possible a year ago. The persistence with which Scholz put forward the idea at every opportunity that companies worldwide would have to pay a minimum tax on profits and that the taxation rights for large corporations like the tech giants would have to be redistributed, simply sounded like make a wish. Much like his candidacy for chancellor. And now – it works.

“I’m very, very happy that the effort will pay off,” says Scholz. He is happy with expectation, almost overflowing: “So many did not believe it, but I pushed it forward relentlessly”. One can imagine that the SPD’s candidate for chancellor would also like to say this sentence on the evening of September 26th at 6 p.m. when the first extrapolation comes. And contrary to current forecasts, Scholz can form a government.

There is almost a threat that at a time when public attention in Germany is constantly revolving around copied text passages, 0.1 percent movements in incidences or a single CDU candidate for the Bundestag from Thuringia, something is really moving on the international stage . And the Federal Minister of Finance has his share in it.

The Trump era is over, multilateralism is alive

“The real message is,” says the SPD candidate for chancellor, “that it is again possible to make appointments on a global scale.” The Trump era is over, multilateralism is alive. The G20 will make a political commitment not to tolerate any more tax dumping, which is two-thirds of the world’s population and four-fifths of global economic power. A total of 131 countries want to take part. If you consider that the 16 German federal states have barely managed to introduce joint software for their tax offices, for example, it becomes clear what kind of tax revolution the German finance minister has pushed.

Of course, nothing is perfect, the US has a vested interest in collecting more taxes in other countries. In Europe, Ireland, Estonia and Hungary are reluctant. France and other states would have to abolish their national digital tax, but they don’t want to do that until the US proves that they are not letting their tech giants have any loopholes. Nevertheless, Scholz squints in the sun: “Overall, things went better than one could have expected.”