G20 Talks

Schäuble's Battle to Save His Legacy

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s G20 presidency will be dominated by President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy, with talks likely to focus on averting protectionism.

  • Facts


    • German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is hosting a meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Baden-Baden Friday and Saturday as part of Germany’s presidency of the G20.
    • Mr. Schäuble’s achievements as finance minister are under threat: the fight against aggressive national tax policies and corporate tax avoidance as well as achieving a balanced German budget for three years in a row.
    • Mr. Trump and leading Republicans in Congress want to radically alter the U.S. tax system. Plans revealed up to now call for a lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 or even 15 percent as well as a reform of the tax base that could hurt German exports and tax revenues.
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German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble talks to reporters during the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in Baden-Baden
Wolfgang Schäuble will be a man in demand at the G20 meeting. Source: Reuters

Wolfgang Schäuble sees himself as a servant of his country. Pomp and pageantry are anathema to him. But he decided to splash out a bit in this year of Germany’s presidency of the Group of 20 leading economies, and had a postage stamp designed to mark the events which include a meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors beginning Friday in the southwestern city of Baden-Baden – not far from Mr. Schäuble’s own constituency.

The stamp features a square knot that symbolizes the networked world and conveniently tightens further the more one tries to pull at it.

The G20 could well use that sort of cohesion. Mr. Schäuble and Chancellor Angela Merkel had actually wanted the presidency to offer pretty backdrops ahead of the September general election. But President Donald Trump is shaking everything up with his America First doctrine.

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