Dhe government press conferences, which take place three times a week in Berlin, harbor a certain potential for disappointment even in normal times. There are similar answers to many questions: We can’t say anything about that. We will inform you in due course. Someone else is responsible for that. The art of loud silence was particularly pronounced on Monday. It was about the 600 billion dollar program that the seven leading industrial nations announced at their summit in Elmau. The Americans want to mobilize 200 billion dollars for investments in poorer countries. Japan contributes $65 billion, Canada 5.3. Even the day after, Germany cannot quantify its share. A spokesman for Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) said he could not “calculate that in Heller and Pfennig”.
The G-7 summit in the Bavarian Alps is more charged than any international summit in a long time. Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States not only want to send a signal against Russia, but also want to counter China’s growing influence in the world. As part of its New Silk Road offensive, the Middle Kingdom has invested a lot of money in the infrastructure of African countries, but also in Southeast Europe, and built ports, roads and railway lines. It has bought mines producing lithium and cobalt, two commodities Europe needs for its electric car goals. It has developed from a developing country into a “system competitor”, as the industry association BDI states. The 600 billion dollars are to become the Silk Road of the West. The big question remains: how?
Who the money comes from varies depending on the program
According to EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, “Team Europe” will provide 300 billion euros for the expansion of the infrastructure. Unlike the figures from the USA, Japan and Canada, however, this does not refer to five but to seven years. The German gross domestic product makes up around 25 percent of the economic output of the EU. If you take this as a benchmark, Germany’s share of the European total would be 75 billion euros, or 10.7 billion euros for the year. For comparison: the federal government will spend a total of almost 500 billion euros in 2022. In view of these ratios alone, the investment offensive of the G 7 no longer seems quite as powerful as it was announced by the heads of state and government. In addition, the 600 billion dollars should not only come from state funds, but also from private investors. Who should bear which share is one of the many open questions at this summit. Each program is different, said Scholz’s spokesman.
As an example, he named an action fund that is intended to mobilize private capital for sustainable infrastructure in emerging countries. Germany provided 25 million euros for the fund last year, and this year another 30 million euros are to be added. According to the government, one euro from the state triggers private investments of up to 50 euros. If you follow this calculation, that adds up to a total of 2.75 billion euros in the two years. With this instrument alone, Germany could already fulfill a not inconsiderable part of its commitments from Elmau. In addition, the federal government refers to a project to promote vaccine production in Africa, for which Germany is providing 530 million euros.