German-speaking Finance Ministers meet in Vienna  – focus on coronavirus assistance and digital tax

This year, the Finance Ministers of Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria held their annual informal exchange in the city of Vienna. The meeting of German-speaking Finance Ministers enjoys a ten-year tradition and this year the content of discussions was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and digital sales tax. The two-day event opened on Monday afternoon with an exclusive guided tour of the exhibition "Vienna 1900" at the Leopold Museum. There was then an opportunity for talks during a joint evening meal held at a wine tavern on the Kahlenberg hill in the Vienna Woods.

Working meetings on Tuesday began with an exchange of views on coronavirus assistance measures. In addition, detailed discussions were held on the subject of digital tax.

For all the states represented, the coronavirus pandemic has led to a significant economic slump. The Finance Ministers of the five countries are in agreement to the effect that tourism and trade are particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this context, the instrument of short-time working has proven to be an effective measure.

At a joint press conference, the German-speaking Finance Ministers announced that they hope for an agreement on digital tax at OECD level in the autumn. On this, Austria Finance Minister Gernot Blümel expressed the need for "a level playing field at international level". According to Blümel, "a multinational approach is preferable, and that is what we are working on together".

"Together with our international partners, Austria intends to campaign for an international solution on this issue. The owner of a small corner shop should not have to pay more tax than a multinational corporation," concluded Austria's Finance Minister.