The aims of Germany's G7 presidency
Germany has assumed the presidency of the Group of Seven (G7) until the end of 2015. This informal gathering of the seven most advanced industrial nations provides the heads of state or government of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States with a forum for exchanging views and opinions and coordinating joint policy positions. The topics discussed are the economy and finances, trade, energy, climate protection, development policy, and issues in foreign and security policy. The European Union is represented at all meetings. The country holding the presidency maintains close contact with various interest groups and non-G7 countries. Prior to each summit, discussions are held with non-governmental organisations, business associations and unions, as well as with representatives of parliament and foreign embassies.
The presidency plays a prominent role. It is charged with organising and setting the agenda of the annual G7 summit and additional G7 meetings.
Three focal points for meetings of finance ministers and central bank governors
During its presidency of the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors, Germany is pursuing three working priorities. Its objectives are to make the global economy more dynamic, the financial system more stable and international taxation fairer.
Sound public finances and less debt are key to achieving sustainable growth, which will consolidate the improving global economy. Greater investment and in particular structural reform are crucial for achieving this objective. Gaps in financial market regulation need to be closed, notably in the area of monitoring what are known as shadow banks, the aim being to help reduce the likelihood of financial crises in the future. Furthermore, there should be closer international cooperation in tax matters so as to enable everyone to contribute their fair share to the funding of public budgets. This is the only way to ensure the general public retain their confidence in the tax system.
Consultation between finance ministers and central bank governors
While Germany holds the presidency, the sessions of the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors are chaired by Bundesbank President Jens Weidmann and Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. These regular confidential meetings augment the G7 summits attended by the heads of state or government. They are important for the finance ministers and central bank governors of the leading industrial countries as a forum for informally exchanging views and opinions, addressing long-term international fiscal and monetary policy matters and discussing current developments in this field.
Alongside G7 meetings on the margins of IMF and G20 meetings, it is customary for the G7 presidency to hold a separate meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors. The Bundesbank President and the Federal Finance Minister will be inviting their international colleagues to such an event from 27 to 29 May 2015 in Dresden. The next G7 summit of heads of state or government is set to take place on 7/8 June 2015 at Schloss Elmau in Bavaria.
In addition to the G7 meetings addressing financial matters, a series of high-level international specialist conferences on the German presidency’s three working priorities will take place in 2015, organised by the Bundesbank and the Federal Ministry of Finance. As part of this series of events, the Bundesbank will be hosting a conference on financial sector regulation in Frankfurt am Main in March 2015.
Alongside the aforementioned financial topics, the finance ministers and central bank governors will also discuss a range of other issues on Germany’s agenda for the G7 heads of state or government during its presidency; these will include preparations for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, drafting objectives for development aid after 2015 and improving transparency on the commodity markets.