In spring 2017, the German Finance Ministry created a new position for a head of the financial division at the German Embassy in Paris, reflecting the continued importance of the Franco-German friendship. Christian Dahlhaus holds this important post on behalf of the German Finance Ministry. The financial division, which has a total of four staff, is also responsible for the areas of taxation and customs.
The German Embassy in Paris is a key bilateral mission in Europe. It is headed by Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut and has 160 staff. It comprises sections for political affairs, economic affairs, culture, media relations, public relations, and legal and consular affairs. It also has a defence section headed by a military attaché. The financial division forms part of the economic affairs section, which currently has a total of 12 officials from four German ministries.
The financial division’s tasks include analysing the French government’s financial, budgetary and tax policies and evaluating economic trends in France. The German government is especially interested in the initiatives launched by the new French government. To this end, the financial division cultivates close bilateral ties with the relevant French ministries and agencies. It is also in close contact with the financial sector, the Banque de France, the French national institute of statistics, independent research institutes and think tanks. The division also tracks economic trends at the EU and eurozone level.
Another core task is to provide specialist and logistical support for visits from members of the German parliament and high-ranking government representatives.
The division organises seminars and discussions aimed at fostering Franco-German cooperation on specific issues, cultivating the exchange of ideas and supporting ongoing projects. In 2017, events were held on the significance of the European single market and on the future of the Economic and Monetary Union, among other topics.
The German Embassy’s financial division also serves as a reliable point of contact for the French authorities, providing them with support on all issues relating to bilateral cooperation in the areas of fiscal policy, taxation and customs.
Impressions from Paris
Interview with Christian Dahlhaus
Early on in my career I took part in an exchange with the French Treasury, which reports to the Ministry for the Economy and Finance in Paris. Later, I also worked in Washington, D.C.-District of Columbia, where I held the post of Senior Adviser to the German Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund. In light of that experience, the obvious next step was to apply for the post of Head of Division which had just been created at the German Embassy in Paris.
I wanted to be in France, to watch history in the making so to speak, so I took up work there early, in April 2017. The first few months were very exciting and interesting. Now that my family, who came in the summer, has joined me, I get to enjoy not only my work, but more of Paris and the many things on offer here, too. Our children have joined local football and table tennis clubs and we feel very settled in France now.
Our new home in the suburbs is a great place for families but it also allows us to experience all that Paris has to offer. The Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Tuileries Garden, Notre Dame, Sacré-Coeur, and Haussmann’s unique cityscape make Paris one of the most beautiful cities in the world to visit.
Paris boasts many excellent museums, but it also allows you to experience the famous French savoir vivre on a daily basis.
Paris winters are relatively mild, but it does rain a lot, so I sometimes also take the metro to work. Public transport in and around Paris provides good service in the suburbs.
At the Embassy, we are of course currently focusing on the new government’s policy agenda. We want to describe the emerging policies as accurately as possible for the government back in Berlin, which is why we maintain a broad range of contacts in the main French government bodies, ministries and research institutes.
We were hoping around 15 people would attend, so we invited 27 distinguished guests including professors, senior officials from the ministries and heads of research institutions. Everyone actually came, which was a pleasant surprise, and we all enjoyed what was a lively, constructive event. Instances like this just go to show how important Franco-German relations are.
And it’s always a great pleasure and honour to accompany Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut to finance-related meetings. Mr Meyer-Landrut is a representative of Germany who is held in very high regard in France and is familiar with finance-related topics. And you really get the sense that he sincerely believes in the importance of Franco-German relations.
I’m especially looking forward to re-joining my orchestra and to being back with my dear friends.
Mr Dahlhaus, thank you for those fascinating insights into your life in Paris. Au revoir .