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Global Solutions Needed for Global Challenges:
Wolfgang Schäuble on the Launch of the G20 Presidency

December 1, 2016

"We will only be able to solve the problems of the world if we work together," stressed Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble at the start of Germany's G20 Presidency in Berlin. With Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann he welcomed delegates from the world's 20 leading economies, and presented the objectives of the German Presidency.

In his speech, Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble warned of a new nationalism and of markets retreating behind protectionist barriers. "Global solutions are needed for global challenges," he said. Today, countries are more interconnected and more interdependent than they were in the past. We cannot turn back the clock, nor do we want to. But globalisation must be made to benefit the people more, and must provide answers to the growing feeling that there is a widening chasm between poor and rich.

G20 has a responsibility to provide leadership

Globalisation, with global trade and open markets has brought major improvements to the lives of hundreds of millions of people, stated Wolfgang Schäuble. Yet, people around the world feel threatened by globalisation. The question is: How can we hold societies together? How can we ensure that moderation takes precedence over excess? The G20 is called on to act. "As the single most important instrument of global governance, we the G20 must manage to put in place a regulatory framework and to find answers to these questions," declared the Federal Finance Minister.

Cooperation provides the opportunity we need

"The answer cannot be to return to nationalism and withdraw into protectionism," said Wolfgang Schäuble. We can only address the problems effectively if we continue to work together. And that, he said, is the strength of the G20: It offers members the opportunity to speak openly about problems and to devise solutions together, even and especially in times of crisis. Geopolitical uncertainties, terrorism, refugee movements and poverty in the world are only a few of the problems facing us today. This makes the G20 more important than ever.

Improving living conditions

If, for instance, we do not manage to improve living conditions in certain parts of the world, these regions cannot be stabilised, pointed out Wolfgang Schäuble. "Millions more people will flee their homes to escape war, violence, hunger and poverty. And the people who leave are often the very ones who would have been most important to drive economic development in their own countries."

Making national economies more resilient

Global trade and open markets still provide an opportunity for many people to raise themselves out of poverty through their own efforts and to take charge of their own lives, said Wolfgang Schäuble. One focus of the German Presidency will then be to make national economies more resistant to new crises. He recommended pro-growth structural reforms, a reduction in the high levels of debt that still prevail in many places, and an appropriate normalisation of monetary policy.

On 1 December Germany took over the G20 Presidency from China. The motto of the Presidency is "Shaping an Interconnected World". In the financial sector, the German Presidency aims to achieve progress on three priorities: enhancing resilience, investing in Africa, and digitalisation.

Source: Germany's Presidency of the 2017 G20 Summit


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