Löger after working meeting with Scholz: “We are pulling together” Löger is confident after the working meeting that Germany will support Austria’s concerns. They will take a common stance against repeated US threats in the realm of customs.

Taxation of the digital economy is considered one of the priorities of the Austrian Ministry of Finance during the coming Austrian EU presidency. The first meeting with Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz in Brussels was taken by Minister Löger as an opportunity to promote this as a priority. Following the meeting, Löger stated: “Germany supports Austria’s proposal to tax the digital economy in future. Both countries clearly oppose the current privileges afforded to digital companies that earn money in Europe but fail to pay taxes here. Both of us have the goal to use the EU presidency to discuss the precise form of taxation and to work out the details”, Löger stated, who had previously succeeded in gaining France as an ally on this project.

The one-hour working meeting was generally very constructive, Löger stated. Germany and Austria share many common interests, which both are advocating in Brussels. The financial transaction tax is, according to Löger, a prominent example of this. Löger stated that they will continue to exchange information on indexation of family benefits in future: “The new Austrian Federal Government has implemented an important reform in providing for indexation of family allowances, which is being taken up by many Member States. There are many indications that some Member States will soon be following our example”.

As an exporting nation, it is clear to Löger, Austria will pull together with Germany in any customs dispute with the US: “For the time being, we should not overstate the importance of this announcement. We are not familiar with any details at all and do not know-how serious these considerations are. However, it is clear that increased duty on the import of cars in the United States will impact both Germany and Austria. In our country, we have many companies that work as sub-contractors to the automobile industry and would be affected by this. As an exporting nation, we will not participate in any escalation and we will take every opportunity to avoid a so-called “trade war”.