Washington Olaf Scholz (SPD) is not to be envied. He has indeed completed the 23 SPD regional conferences. But the tight program for the Minister of Finance continues unabated.
The other finance ministers press Scholz, but please finally give up the "black zero" and raise government spending to give the world economy an impulse. Scholz, on the other hand, wants to convince his colleagues in Washington of the German path in climate policy in Washington.
On Friday, he spoke in a speech to the Foreign Affairs Council on the climate package – and gives US President Donald Trump one. "In a land of dealmakers, I say: If you do not participate in the fight against climate change, you will voluntarily miss a big deal," said Scholz in the language of Trump.
The Minister of Finance stressed the importance of "international cooperation and strong international institutions" in the fight against climate change. Everyone agrees. "Well, almost everyone," Scholz continued. Laughter in the hall. Everyone knew without naming, who meant: US President Donald Trump.
His US government denies that climate change is man-made. Therefore, it does not participate in the round of "finance ministers for climate protection", which meets on the sidelines of the IMF meeting and in which a dozen heads of department coordinate their actions in the fight against climate change.
Meeting with US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin
Even at a personal meeting between Scholz and US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Friday, climate policy is likely to play a role. Just like another ongoing theme: the international criticism of allegedly too low German investment.
Scholz said that the demands on Germany to invest more at this year's IMF meeting are not as loud as they have been in the past. According to Scholz, it is now "noted" that the investments are already at "record levels" and the Federal Republic is investing 400 billion euros in the coming decade. In addition, another 190 billion euros would come through the climate package and the aid program for coal regions.
This assessment was however somewhat geflunkert. After all, the finance ministers demanded that Scholz invest more or reduce taxes.
Many finance ministers can not understand why Germany, despite its obvious infrastructure problems, sticks to the "black zero", even though debt is also available for free thanks to the low interest rates. Even the Bundesbank finds that public investment is too low.
Questions about higher spending amuse Scholz
Scholz, on the other hand, thinks he has provided enough money. This is also shown in the fact that the money from communities and countries is not fully retrieved, because they have no finished projects in the drawer.
Therefore, questions about higher expenses or tax cuts almost amuse him. "On Mondays, I'm asked if I'm not worried about the break-away revenue, on Wednesdays, if I do not have too much money and want to cut taxes, and on Friday again the other way around," said Scholz.
The German Minister of Finance does not want to give in to the pressure of his colleagues because he does not consider the economic situation to be so dramatic. The German economy is still growing and at the end of the year the IMF is expecting a revival.
The German economy with its export focus suffers particularly from international trade conflicts. If the US and China settle their conflicts and perhaps even come to an orderly Brexit, the recovery could perhaps be even stronger, so Scholz 'hope.
Trade conflict weighs on the world economy
How much the US-China trade conflict weighs on the global economy, shows a calculation of the Bundesbank. Accordingly, the tariffs implemented and announced by the beginning of September are depressing the gross domestic product in both countries by 0.75 per cent and dampening global trade by 1.5 per cent.
And these are just the direct effects. The even bigger problem is that because of the tariffs companies invest less, said Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann. "A relaxation of the conflict would therefore be the best economic program you can imagine," said Weidmann.
After his return from Washington, Scholz is as labor-intensive as before his trip. On Sunday evening, the next coalition committee is already on the program.
Domestic politics never let go of the Minister of Finance on his trip to Washington. The traditional IMF press conference on Friday morning Scholz began unusually with a domestic issue: the agreement on the property tax.
Scholz is not just a finance minister traveling these days. But also candidate for the presidency of the SPD, which waits for the result of the member survey.
That's why Scholz dealt with the subject of uncertainty twice in Washington: Once the uncertainty in the global economy. And once the uncertainty, as it continues with him as a SPD politician.
More: The time of saving is over. Almost all euro states want to increase spending in 2020 in order to counter the threat of a downturn – despite high levels of debt.
(TagToTranslate) Olaf Scholz (t) Federal Finance Minister (t) IMF (t) Annual Meeting (t) Black Zero (t) Trade Conflicts (t) World Economy (t) International Monetary Conference (t) Fiscal Policy (t) Economy (t) Currency (t ) Budget State (t) IMF (t) SPD (t) Bundesbank (t) Olaf Scholz (t) Donald Trump (t) Jens Weidmann (t) Steven Mnuchin