• Febru­ary 2019 Month­ly Re­port

    The February edition of the ministry’s monthly report is now online. Every month we publish selected extracts from our monthly report in English. These extracts feature current data and information on federal budget trends, tax revenue, debt levels and guarantees, as well as key dates on the fiscal and economic policy agenda. The monthly report also includes interesting articles on topics within the Finance Ministry’s remit, a selection of which are translated into English each month.

  • Preparations for Brexit

    In November 2018, the European Commission and the United Kingdom agreed on a Withdrawal Agreement and a political declaration on the future relationship. While the German government is assuming that Britain’s withdrawal from the EU will be orderly, it is also preparing for a possible “no deal” scenario. Our dedicated Brexit page includes important information on preparations for Brexit in the areas of financial markets, customs, budgetary issues and taxation.

    We have to accept the democratic decision of the British people, and we need to target our efforts at ensuring that we maintain a close, cooperative and balanced relationship in the future too.
  • What’s new in 2019

    The beginning of a new year is a time when regulatory changes are introduced that impact citizens and companies in a number of ways. Our overview of key new developments in German tax law highlights these topics: tax relief for families, tax exemptions for employer-sponsored public transport passes, tax relief for using electric vehicles as business cars, the tax-exempt personal use of business bikes and electric bikes, stricter liability for online marketplace operators, the tax treatment of earnings from investment funds, the legal framework for securitisation, and occupational pension schemes.

    We have taken decisions that will put more money in people’s pockets.
  • Cit­i­zens’ Di­a­logue on the Fu­ture of Eu­rope

    How do people in Germany see Europe in their everyday lives? What role does the EU play for Germany? And what form should it take in future? The Finance Ministry is actively participating in the Citizens’ Dialogue on the Future of Europe taking place throughout Europe, enabling citizens to come together and discuss these and other questions. The federal government’s results have now been compiled in a report.

    When we discuss Europe’s future, we need to become much more political than we have been in the past. Far too few of our discussions focus on the issues that are the top priorities for our citizens when they think about Europe.
  • Eu­rogroup and ECOFIN meet­ings in De­cem­ber 2018

    Once again, there were many important issues on the agenda when European finance ministers convened in Brussels for their last meetings of 2018. Reform of the eurozone is making good progress, in the form of further development of the banking union, the establishment of a European Monetary Fund and the decision regarding a common budget. The ministers also discussed the Franco-German proposal for the introduction of a digital tax and adopted an action plan for combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

    I feel that we have achieved major breakthroughs regarding the banking union and the further development of the eurozone, and everything connected with these issues.

Content-related sites

  • Featured

    20 February 2019

    Jan­uary 2019 month­ly re­port: Brex­it and cus­toms

    If, as expected, the United Kingdom withdraws from the European Union in March, the country will also leave the internal market and the customs union. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK will be treated as a third country, which will have a significant impact on the movement of goods between the UK and the EU. The German government and the German customs administration are carefully preparing for this scenario.

  • Europe

    8 February 2019

    Eu­ro­pean Re­form and Ger­man Re­spon­si­bil­i­ty

    On 8 February 2019, German finance minister and vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered a keynote speech at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He emphasised that Europe is stronger when it acts in concert and that it needs to strengthen its sovereignty as a global political actor in its own right so that it becomes impossible to play Europeans off against each other.

  • Public Finances

    8 February 2019

    Fi­nan­cial Times in­ter­view with Olaf Scholz

    In an interview with the Financial Times, German finance minister and vice chancellor Olaf Scholz speaks about current issues. Focusing on the federal budget, he also outlines the prospects for Brexit. He emphasises the importance of a balanced budget without new debt whilst taking account of the need for “social cohesion” and the importance of the welfare state.

  • Taxation

    6 February 2019

    In­ter­dis­ci­plinary con­fer­ence: “The fu­ture of the da­ta econ­o­my”

    On 19 November 2018 the Federal Ministry of Finance hosted a conference that brought together selected experts from academia, the business community, civil society, public administration, journalism and professional associations. They engaged in a comprehensive discussion on what actions need to be taken and what options are available to ensure a smoothly functioning data economy.

  • Public Finances

    6 February 2019

    The Ger­man pub­lic sec­tor’s in-house con­sult­ing agen­cy marks ten years of growth and suc­cess

    Germany’s publicly owned consulting agency for the public sector celebrated its 10th anniversary on 11 November 2018. PD is the German public sector’s only in-house consulting agency that operates on a nationwide basis and at all levels of government. PD advises the public sector on projects aimed at (a) innovative and sustainable infrastructure and (b) the modernisation of administrative processes.

  • Franco-German cooperation

    24 January 2019

    The Treaty of Aachen: A new Fran­co-Ger­man agen­da

    Germany and France have strengthened their cooperation with a new friendship treaty that was signed in the city of Aachen on 22 January 2019. One priority project on the new joint agenda is cooperation in the area of financial services and financial markets at the EU level, with the goal of working towards high regulatory standards, including in the area of sustainable finance.

  • World

    18 January 2019

    Ger­man-Chi­nese fi­nan­cial di­a­logue on 16–18 Jan­uary 2019

    The most recent German-Chinese financial dialogue was held in Beijing on 18 January 2019. Its main objective was to further deepen cooperation between Germany and China in the area of finance. German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz conducted talks with Chinese government representatives, researchers and the central bank. The two countries concluded specific agreements to improve mutual market access.

  • Financial markets

    17 December 2018

    Fis­cal Pol­i­cy Sem­i­nar 2018

    The Finance Ministry’s first Fiscal Policy Seminar took place in Berlin on 13-14 December 2018. The two-day event brought together experts from academia, central banks and government ministries – and hailing from a total of 14 countries – to discuss the role that stable financial markets play in fostering sound fiscal policies. This year’s Best Paper Award was presented to a group of four co-authors whose study showed that financial markets exert disciplinary effects on the actions that governments take.

  • Taxation

    30 November 2018

    External Tax Relations

    Our new category offers information on German legislation relating to external tax relations, especially transfer pricing. It provides working translations of a range of documents in the field of external tax relations legislation. These working translations are merely for informational purposes, only the German-language versions are authoritative for the application of the law.

  • Europe

    28 November 2018

    “It is in our own in­ter­est to en­sure that Eu­rope is strong, sovereign and fair”

    On 28 November 2018, German finance minister and vice-chancellor Olaf Scholz delivered a keynote speech on Europe at the Humboldt University in Berlin. He highlighted the importance of telling people in Germany and in other European countries what kind of European Union we are working towards and exactly what steps need to be taken.

  • Financial markets

    22 November 2018

    KfW Cap­i­tal: The KfW Group’s new sub­sidiary

    KfW Capital launched operations in October 2018 as a new subsidiary of the KfW Group. The KfW Group is Germany’s third largest bank and the world’s largest national promotional bank. KfW Capital will team up with private investors to invest in venture capital funds, with the aim of helping start-ups gain easier access to capital.

  • Ministry

    16 November 2018

    In­vi­ta­tion: 2018 Fis­cal Pol­i­cy Sem­i­nar

    The Federal Ministry of Finance will be hosting its first Fiscal Policy Seminar on 13–14 December 2018. The goal of this seminar is to bring together academic public finance experts and Finance Ministry employees. This year, the theme is “Rethinking Market Discipline”. We welcome registrations from persons with an academic background and an interest in fiscal policy.

  • Taxation

    13 November 2018

    Com­bat­ing VAT fraud

    Value-added tax (VAT) fraud comes in many forms: it can range from the failure to declare and/or pay VAT and the fraudulent use of the right to deduct input tax, to what is known as VAT carousel fraud. This article describes what Germany does to combat VAT fraud and details how European administrative cooperation in this area has been enhanced.

  • Public Finances

    13 November 2018

    A mod­ern bud­get for Eu­rope

    The European Union needs a budget that is modern and future-proof. Against the backdrop of current challenges and Brexit, the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework needs a new focus. Negotiations are currently underway. The German Finance Ministry basically supports the European Commission’s proposals, but believes that they do not go far enough. Germany is in favour of a more far-reaching modernisation of the budget.

  • World

    30 October 2018

    Ger­man gov­ern­ment pro­mot­ing pri­vate-sec­tor de­vel­op­ment in Africa

    On 30 October 2018, the heads of state and government of the African countries participating in the Compact with Africa attended a high-level conference hosted in Berlin by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Olaf Scholz, who is advancing the initiative in cooperation with the other G20 finance ministers, welcomed the fact that German businesses are making a stronger commitment to Africa.

  • Financial markets

    22 October 2018

    IMF and World Bank an­nu­al meet­ings and meet­ing of the G20 fi­nance min­is­ters in Bali

    The meeting of the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors and the annual meetings of the IMF and the World Bank took place in Bali (Indonesia) from 11–14 October 2018. German finance minister Olaf Scholz was in attendance. The discussions focused on issues such as the mounting risks to global economic growth and the ways in which they can be addressed through joint action.

  • Europe

    2 October 2018

    ECOFIN Coun­cil paves the way for equal tax treat­ment of dig­i­tal me­dia

    Good news for everyone who likes to read: European finance ministers paved the way for the equal tax treatment of digital media at the meeting of the EU’s Economic and Financial Affairs Council (ECOFIN) on 2 October 2018. The reduced rate of value added tax (VAT) can now be applied to e-books and e-newspapers. Previously, it could only be applied to print media.

  • Taxation

    27 September 2018

    Pros­e­cu­tion of tax crimes and tax-re­lat­ed ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fences in 2017

    In 2017, which taxes in Germany had the highest amounts of unpaid taxes, and how many years of imprisonment were imposed nationwide for tax crimes? These and other useful figures from the annual statistics pertaining to the prosecution of tax crimes and tax-related administrative offences in Germany are explained in this article.

  • Financial markets

    20 September 2018

    Ger­many’s Pay­ment Ac­counts Act: two years on

    Two years ago, Germany introduced legislation to give everyone access to a basic bank account. How was the EU’s Payment Accounts Directive implemented in Germany, and what effect has the new legislation had on social justice? The law also includes provisions that help consumers to switch banks, which has intensified competition among credit institutions.

  • Financial markets

    14 September 2018

    Lessons learned from the Lehman col­lapse

    It is ten years since the US investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed, marking the beginning of the biggest financial crisis since the Second World War. In an op-ed for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz outlines the measures that were taken at the time to stabilise the financial markets and the lessons that can be drawn from the crisis.

  • Europe

    10 September 2018

    Eu­rogroup and in­for­mal ECOFIN meet­ings in Septem­ber 2018

    How can we ensure that multinational corporations in the digital sector are taxed appropriately? This question was addressed by German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his fellow finance ministers at the Eurogroup and informal ECOFIN meetings in Vienna on 7–8 September 2018. The discussions focused on the search for a smart, swift solution. Other topics on the agenda included reform of the currency union and the completion of the banking union.

  • Compensation/property law

    6 September 2018

    A memo­ri­al made of pa­per: pre­serv­ing the past, for the sake of the fu­ture

    The Federal Ministry of Finance has launched an initiative that aims to improve the links between the vast quantity of documents relating to the German government’s Wiedergutmachung (compensation and restitution) for crimes committed by the National Socialist regime and to make these records more accessible to victims, family members and researchers.

  • Europe

    30 August 2018

    The rel­e­vance of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween Ger­many and France for the fu­ture of Eu­rope

    On 29 August 2018, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire concluded the annual summer university organised by the French employer federation MEDEF. Read the Minister's speech on "France-Germany: a win-win relationship".

  • Europe

    20 August 2018

    Snap­shots of Fran­co-Ger­man co­op­er­a­tion

    The August edition of the Finance Ministry’s monthly report offers an insight into current Franco-German cooperation, not only at the government level, but also at the working level of the two finance ministries. One element of this is the Franco-German Seminar. Launched in 1999, the seminar entered its 10th cycle in Berlin in May 2018.

  • Taxation

    7 August 2018

    Tax­es: an in­ter­na­tion­al com­par­i­son

    This article from the July edition of the Finance Ministry’s monthly report provides basic international comparisons of certain major tax types. The comparisons cover the member states of the European Union plus several additional advanced economies (the United States, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Norway) and generally reflect the state of the law in these countries as of end 2017.

  • Financial markets

    25 July 2018

    Meet­ing of G20 fi­nance min­is­ters and cen­tral bank gov­er­nors in Buenos Aires

    The G20 finance ministers gathered again in Buenos Aires on 21–22 July 2018 under the helm of the Argentine presidency. Their talks focused in particular on the risks posed by trade disputes. During the discussions, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz reiterated his strong support for free and fair global trade and underscored the importance of international cooperation. At the meeting, the G20 also endorsed a set of policy options for the future of work.

  • World

    23 July 2018

    Bloomberg pro­file on Fi­nance Min­is­ter Scholz

    The global news service Bloomberg commends Olaf Scholz's achievements during his first four months as Finance Minister. Scholz is described as Germany’s most popular politician who provided stability during Chancellor Merkel’s coalition crisis. The article highlights the deputy chancellor’s "pro-European convictions and even-keeled presence", which have delivered key political breakthroughs in recent months.

  • Financial markets

    20 July 2018

    IMF Ar­ti­cle IV con­sul­ta­tion with Ger­many

    On 29 June 2018, the IMF concluded this year’s Article IV consultation with Germany. Praising the impressive performance of the economy and public budgets in Germany, the IMF noted rising employment levels and the ongoing positive trend on the labour market. The Fund also stated that private and public investment will be necessary to safeguard jobs in the future.

  • World

    20 July 2018

    "Pro­tec­tion­ism does not solve any prob­lem and of­ten hurts the poor­est the most"

    Ahead of this weekend’s G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Buenos Aires, the Argentinian newspaper El Cronista published an interview with Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. In the interview, Scholz emphasises that international cooperation and free trade are essential for global prosperity. He also discusses the financial package agreed between Argentina and the IMF as well as the country’s efforts in connection with the future of work and the digital economy.

  • Europe

    13 July 2018

    "We have some in­vest­ment head­room and we are will­ing to use it"

    Olaf Scholz, German finance minister and vice-chancellor, is the subject of a profile in The Economist magazine. Read more about his views on domestic budgetary policy and his ideas on how to deepen the euro zone and improve European sovereignty without jeopardizing the EU's overall cohesion.

  • Europe

    13 July 2018

    Eu­rogroup and ECOFIN meet­ings in Ju­ly 2018

    The presidency of the Council of the EU rotates among the member states every six months. In July 2018, Austria took up the presidency as scheduled, presenting its programme to the EU finance ministers at the ECOFIN meeting in Brussels on 13 July. For the Eurogroup meeting on 12 July, items on the agenda included further steps to develop the monetary union, as well as an analysis of the euro area’s current economic and budgetary situation.

  • 6 July 2018

    Draft 2019 bud­get and fi­nan­cial plan to 2022: for­ward-look­ing, fair and re­spon­si­ble

    On 6 July 2018, Germany’s federal cabinet adopted the government draft for the 2019 federal budget and the financial plan to 2022.

  • Ministry

    5 July 2018

    The Re­ich Fi­nance Min­istry and the mo­bil­i­sa­tion of Eu­rope for Hitler’s war

    In 2009, the Federal Ministry of Finance tasked an independent commission of historians with researching the Reich Finance Ministry’s various areas of responsibility. This article sheds light on the Ministry’s role in confiscating Jewish assets and its involvement in financially exploiting Nazi-occupied territories to fund the war.

  • Financial markets

    3 July 2018

    Eu­rope must re­duce for­bear­ance risks

    The chief economist’s last newsletter from July 2018 states that regulators have dealt effectively with well-known threats to financial resilience, but they rarely mention the consequences of delays and inaction in dealing with the problems of banks. Ludger Schuknecht and Levin Holle warn this might entail systemic problems.

  • Europe

    2 July 2018

    The EU’s 2018 Age­ing Re­port and the out­look for Ger­many

    The analysis of the European Union’s latest Ageing Report provided in the Finance Ministry’s June 2018 monthly report shows that the long-term sustainability of public finances in the EU member states continues to face major challenges as a result of demographic change. Germany is disproportionately affected by increases in age-related spending.

  • Europe

    20 June 2018

    Meet­ing of Ger­man and French gov­ern­ment min­is­ters in Mese­berg

    The heads of state and various government ministers from Germany and France convened in Meseberg on 19 June 2018, where they agreed on an extensive catalogue of European reforms. Documents relating to fiscal, budget and tax policy are presented here.

  • Ministry

    15 June 2018

    Call for pa­pers, Fis­cal Pol­i­cy Sem­i­nar of the Ger­man Min­istry of Fi­nance

    The German Ministry of Finance is pleased to announce the call for papers for the 2018 Inaugural Fiscal Policy Seminar. The seminar will take place in Berlin on 13/14 December 2018.

  • Europe

    11 June 2018

    Eu­rope is Ger­many's most im­por­tant na­tion­al in­ter­est

    In an interview with German newsmagazine DER SPIEGEL on 9 June 2018 Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz explained his take on further developing European integration. In this context the minister particularly called for an addition to national unemployment insurance schemes. As regards taxation matters the minister pointed to ongoing discussions on the European level.

  • World

    4 June 2018

    G7 fi­nance min­is­ters and cen­tral bank gov­er­nors meet in Whistler

    G7 finance ministers and central bank governors met in the Canadian resort town of Whistler on 1–2 June 2018, with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann representing Germany. The meeting’s main topic was the current trade dispute with the US. Various other issues relating to international cooperation in the area of finance were also discussed.

  • World

    24 April 2018

    IMF-World Bank spring meet­ing and meet­ing of G20 fi­nance min­is­ters in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

    The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group held their annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on 18–21 April 2018. The G20 finance ministers and central bank governors also met for talks, notably discussing ways to further improve the resilience of individual countries and the global financial system.

  • 18 April 2018

    Ger­man Sta­bil­i­ty Pro­gramme for 2018

    The German Stability Programme for 2018 was approved by the federal cabinet on 18 April 2018. It contains projections of budgetary trends at all government levels. By submitting the updated Stability Programme the federal government fully complies with its obligation for the year 2018 towards the EU to submit national medium-term fiscal plans.

  • World

    23 March 2018

    G20 fi­nance min­is­ters and cen­tral bank gov­er­nors con­vene in Buenos Aires

    On 19–20 March 2018, the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors gathered in Buenos Aires for their first meeting under Argentina’s presidency. Germany’s new finance minister Olaf Scholz was also in attendance. Discussions addressed a wide range of key issues, focusing in particular on the shape of the global economy, financial market regulation, international tax policy and the fight against terrorist financing.

  • Ministry

    14 March 2018

    Olaf Scholz is Ger­many’s new Fi­nance Min­is­ter

    Olaf Scholz, the former mayor of Hamburg, has taken office as Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance. Bundestag members Bettina Hagedorn and Christine Lambrecht will be providing him with key support as Parliamentary State Secretaries.

  • Europe

    20 February 2018

    Ger­man-Ital­ian pro­pos­al for re­design­ing the EU bud­get

    In a joint paper, German and Italian finance ministers Peter Altmaier and Pier Carlo Padoan set out their ideas for redesigning the EU budget, taking into account the existing financial possibilities. Their proposals focus on a stronger promotion of structural reforms and European public goods, from which all EU citizens can benefit.

  • Ministry

    7 February 2018

    Tax ben­e­fits and EU state aid con­trol

    In recent years, EU state aid control has increasingly set its sights on tax policy measures. In this process, the European Commission and the European Court of Justice tend to apply a very broad definition of state aid. This results in considerable legal uncertainty regarding the classification of national measures and creates problems for companies and member states.

  • Ministry

    17 January 2018

    Fi­nance Min­istry in Di­a­logue: The Fu­ture of the Eco­nom­ic and Mon­e­tary Union

    On 17 January 2018, Minister Peter Altmaier welcomed Portuguese Finance Minister Mário Centeno, the new president of the Eurogroup, to the Finance Ministry in Berlin. It was Minister Centeno’s first official foreign trip in his capacity as Eurogroup president, and he took the opportunity to participate in the “Finance Ministry in Dialogue” event series. Minister Altmaier invited Minister Centeno to visit Berlin after he was elected as Eurogroup president in December 2017.

  • Financial markets

    3 July 2018

    Eu­rope must re­duce for­bear­ance risks

    The chief economist’s last newsletter from July 2018 states that regulators have dealt effectively with well-known threats to financial resilience, but they rarely mention the consequences of delays and inaction in dealing with the problems of banks. Ludger Schuknecht and Levin Holle warn this might entail systemic problems.

  • G20

    21 December 2017

    Ger­many’s G20 pres­i­den­cy

    From 1 December 2016 to 30 November 2017, Germany held the presidency of the G20 and passed it to Argentina on 1 December 2017. In the finance track one of the major accomplishments was the launching of the G20 Compact with Africa. Significant advances were achieved in the areas of economic resilience, international financial architecture, international tax policy cooperation, financial market regulation, cybersecurity and remittances.