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Vienna, 03.09.2018 Löger attends the meeting of German-speaking finance ministers in Hamburg

At the bilateral meeting with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz, Finance Minister Hartwig Löger said on the subject of Brexit: "We do not want either a hard Brexit or a no-deal Brexit."

This was the first meeting of German-speaking finance ministers attended by Hartwig Löger. This informal working meeting of the finance ministers of Austria, Germany (Olaf Scholz), Switzerland (Ueli Maurer), Luxemburg (Pierre Gramegna) and Liechtenstein (Adrian Hasler, Prime Minister and Finance Minister) has been taking place annually since 2011.

The organisation of the meeting is undertaken by a different country each year, with this year’s meeting being held in Hamburg at the invitation of the German Vice Chancellor and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. The agenda for the two-day meeting included discussions about general economic and political developments as well as the ongoing Brexit negotiations and customs issues arising from these negotiations. On the occasion of the meeting, Löger also had a lengthy bilateral discussion with his German counterpart Olaf Scholz. On the subject of this discussion, the Austrian Finance Minister said: "Between a hard Brexit and a no-deal Brexit, anything is possible. Neither of these extremes is the result we are aiming for. We are cooperating with the Germans to bring about as orderly a co-existence as possible and to avoid a hard Brexit.”

Once again Finance Minister Hartwig Löger stressed that banking union can only be completed when banks throughout Europe have reduced their risks: "We cannot carry out the second stage before we have carried out the first. We want to see comparable risk parameters in place throughout Europe before we can roll out a broad security network covering all banks.”

The finance ministers also held intensive discussions on international taxation issues, including the possibility of fair taxation for large digital companies. The Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger, who was taking part in this informal meeting for the first time, is regarded as a trailblazer for fair taxation of digital and traditional business models, which also represent one of the main focus points of the current EU Council presidency.

Picture caption: The Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Peter Tschentscher, welcomed the German-speaking Finance Ministers (left to right): Ueli Maurer (Switzerland), Adrian Hasler (Liechtenstein), Pierre Gramegna (Luxemburg), meeting host Olaf Scholz (Germany), Peter Tschentscher (Mayor of Hamburg) and Hartwig Löger (Austria). Photo credit: Thomas Imo/