Finance Minister Magnus Brunner meets UK counterpart Rishi Sunak: green finance, digital tax, COVID recovery and economic support also on the agenda

As part of his trip to London, Finance Minister Magnus Brunner met British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, as the British minister in charge of the Treasury is officially known, is traditionally seen as the second most important member of the government after the Prime Minister. His official residence is at 11 Downing Street, right next door to the world-famous "Number 10", which is the Prime Minister's official residence. Sunak has been in office since February 2020, and was recently described by Germany's Handelsblatt as the "shooting star of British politics." He has made a name for himself in the UK above all thanks to an economic stimulus package designed to overcome the COVID crisis.

"My goal as finance minister is to strengthen the capital market and increase everyone's participation in it. London is the second largest financial centre in the world, and even after Brexit, the UK of course remains an important economic partner for Austria. That’s why it is important to further deepen relations. I was able to talk to Chancellor Sunak not only about the major issue of COVID recovery, but also about green finance, the digital tax and economic aid," said Magnus Brunner after his conversation with Rishi Sunak.

"Green finance, by which we mean green investments and financing for climate-friendly technologies, is a topic of immense interest throughout Europe, not least because of the debate surrounding the European Commission's taxonomy regulation. We agree that tackling global warming is a topic of immense importance for the future, and one that has penetrated all areas of the economy, finance, and life generally. By taking the crucial step of implementing an ecologically and socially responsible tax reform, the biggest transformation of our tax system in the Second Republic, we have incentivised environmentally-friendly behaviour. Our next step will be to issue the first green bond," Brunner said.

COVID-19 and economic support also discussed

At the talks between Sunak and Brunner, the two finance ministers also discussed their respective countries’ performance on COVID-19-related economic support: "Compared with the rest of Europe, economic support in Austria has been very generous, efficient and precisely targeted. I discussed this with my British colleague Mr Sunak, along with pathways out of the current crisis and the general economic development of our two countries," Brunner said.