B20 Dialogue Forum

Sustainable economic activity without isolationism

"Nationalism and protectionism are never the right answer," Wolfgang Schäuble said at the Business20 Summit in Berlin. Federal Environment Minister Hendricks stressed at the B20 Dialogue Forum that sustainable economic activity was essential to achieving global prosperity.

Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and host Jürgen Heraeus talking during the Business20 Dialogue Forum in Berlin Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble and the B20 Chair Jürgen Heraeus Photo: picture alliance / dpa

The clock could not be rewound and globalisation reversed, said Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble at the B20 Dialogue Forum in Berlin. Together we could shape it for the better, though. The G20 was effective and the best format in which to do that, he said.

The B20 Dialogue Forum will be streamed live on the Internet. On 3 May the B20 will be handing over their policy recommendations to the G20 President, Chancellor Angela Merkel, as part of an official ceremony. Go to www.g20germany.de on 2 and 3 May for the live stream.

More robust economies

Wolfgang Schäuble once again highlighted the danger in pursuing a policy of extremely cheap money. The central banks' exceptionally loose fiscal policies carried new risks. According to the Finance Minister the possibility of further financial turbulence could not be ruled out. We were still feeling the effects of the last financial crisis, he added.

That was why countries needed to boost their economic resilience. Schäuble said that more robust economies were what were needed. He explicitly warned against the negative consequences of continuing the trend towards more trade protectionism.

The B20 was formed in 2010 as the official forum for business dialogue of the G20. In its capacity as advisory body the B20 supports the G20 when it comes to solving global challenges. The work of this international network is coordinated by business representatives of that country which holds the G20 Presidency.

Assessing the impact of financial market regulation

The Federal Finance Minister admitted that the impact of financial market regulation on small banks needed to be assessed. But Schäuble also stressed in his speech to the B20 Summit that the key rules which had been introduced during the Lehman crisis could not be abandoned.

The businessman Jürgen Heraeus is Chair of Germany's B20 Presidency, the motto of which is "Resilience, Responsibility, Responsiveness".

Climate action is a programme of modernisation

"Individual nation states will not be able to solve global challenges," Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks stressed in her speech at the B20 Dialogue Forum. Sustainable economic activity was essential to achieving global prosperity, she said, which was why Germany had made climate protection one of the priorities of its G20 Presidency.

By adopting the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement the nations of the world had committed themselves to climate and environmentally compatible economic activity, Hendricks said. This was driven by the binding common target of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Celsius. Many sectors of the economy faced huge challenges as a result, the Minister said. "We need to make sure that this structural change is a success without it causing any structural ruptures."

Climate compatible investment pays off

Businesses needed reliable, long-term goals, said Hendricks. They laid the foundation for climate compatible investments that paid off. Environmentally compatible criteria were just as important for new investments, the Environment Minister said. One good example was climate compatible power generation.

"Climate action and environmental protection are a massive programme of modernisation for our economies and will have a positive impact on competitiveness, the labour market, social inclusion and political stability," Barbara Hendricks stressed.

Prosperity for all – using fewer resources

Germany wants to promote the issue of resource efficiency in close collaboration with the G20. "The strong support of the B20 and the many positive reactions from those in the G20 family show me that it was right, even long-overdue, that we put this topic on the G20 agenda," said Hendricks.

That was why the upcoming G20 Summit in Hamburg under Germany's Presidency was to send a clear signal of the Group of 20's strong commitment to climate action and implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. "Good policies can only succeed if we work hand in hand with entrepreneurs, with civil society and the scientific community," the Environment Minister said.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017