Good afternoon, everyone. I'm very glad that Bruno Le Maire and I can be here together today to present our national recovery plans.

Today, we are completing what we started. In April of last year, the two of us developed a joint German-French proposal for an EU recovery fund. I am very pleased that the EU took up our proposal and that we are in the position today to jointly present a national recovery plan for both Germany and France.

Europe – and the whole world – stood at the beginning of a massive crisis. In contrast to earlier crises, Europe acted rapidly – with resolve and in great solidarity. We have written a new chapter in Europe's history. The EU recovery fund lifts European integration to a new level. In the EU, we are joining forces in a spirit of solidarity to fight the unprecedented coronavirus crisis. With our joint initiative, Bruno, France and Germany have played a decisive role in this process.

The EU recovery plan demonstrates not only that the EU is capable of handling a major crisis, it also demonstrates that the EU can build the future.

Last spring, we responded to the crisis with determination and speed by adopting a first safety net worth €540bn to protect workers, businesses and governments. The EU recovery fund now goes a crucial step further. We are making sure that Europe emerges from the crisis stronger than before, and we are delivering a powerful stimulus that will help lead Europe to a climate-friendly, digital future.

Thanks to the recovery fund, all EU member states – all of them – will receive the funding they need to implement ambitious recovery plans. This is a decisive difference from the response to the global financial crisis 10 years ago. This is a ground-breaking step for Europe. At the same time, it is also in Germany's own interest because our prosperity, our economic success and our sovereignty are deeply interconnected with the economic success and sovereignty of the EU. Germany will be successful only if Europe is successful too.

Germany adopted a stimulus and future development package very early last year – already in June. The German recovery plan that the cabinet approved today builds directly on last year's package. In this way, we are sending out a clear signal in favour of a climate-friendly and digital future. 90 percent of the spending in Germany's plan is targeted towards climate action and the digital transformation. This means that the German government is going well beyond the ambitious targets set by the EU. Germany can expect to receive grants totalling €25.6bn from the EU recovery fund. Our recovery plan provides for total spending of about €28bn. We intend to tap the wide variety of opportunities that digitalisation offers. To this end, €40bn are allocated for measures to promote the digital transformation. We are investing in digital technologies for businesses, for infrastructure and for our education and health care systems. €1.5bn alone will be targeted towards a major digital education initiative.

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time. We want our economy to become climate-neutral by 2050 at the latest. For this reason, 40% of the funding we receive will be invested in climate-friendly mobility, hydrogen technology and energy efficient building renovations. This amounts to a total of over €11bn.

The German recovery plan is also a very European plan, because it supports international projects in the areas of hydrogen, microelectronics and data processing. These projects were jointly initiated by Germany and France and are open to all EU member states. The reform focus is to reduce hurdles to investment. Our recovery plan will generate growth and employment. The German Institute for Economic Research estimates that the German recovery plan will boost GDP by 2% and employment by about ½%.

Together with our colleagues from Italy and Spain, we will be submitting our recovery plans to the European Commission this week. Today, Europe is starting a new chapter. It's a chapter that embraces the future, and it's called “digital and climate-neutral”.

I would like to say a few words about the cooperation between France and Germany in general and about my dear colleague Bruno Le Maire in particular.

Without our close and trustful cooperation, the moment we are celebrating today – along with other key advances that the EU has achieved in recent years – would not have been possible. Before 2018, there was a long gridlock in the EU, precisely in the area of fiscal policy. We’ve changed that.

My first official trip abroad took me to Paris. Already during the first these first talks, it was clear to me that I have a partner in Bruno Le Maire. A partner to give fresh momentum to the German-French engine of integration. A partner for driving the European project forward. We have succeeded in this. Less than three months later, in Meseberg, we unveiled a joint roadmap. That roadmap laid the foundation for ground-breaking reforms and steps towards further integration. These weren't just empty pronouncements. Rather, we delivered: We have made the eurozone more resilient by adopting the ESM reform, a project that had stagnated for a long time. We are strengthening our banks with the common backstop. The initiative for eurozone budget, and the priority of promoting reforms and innovation, have been incorporated into the EU recovery fund. The fund we proposed to stabilise employment during severe economic crises has now become reality. Today we have the SURE instrument, which saved millions of jobs across the EU.

All of these are crucial steps forward – towards an EU that is strong, that is based on solidarity and that is fit for the future. We achieved this progress not because Bruno Le Maire and I always shared the same opinion. Rather, the strength of the partnership between France and Germany is our ability to build consensus from a range of different opinions. In recent years, Bruno Le Maire and I have done our utmost to overcome gridlock, to reach common solutions and to get the German-French engine running at full power. By working together, we have accomplished a lot.

So there is one more thing I would like to say, and that is thank you, Bruno, very much. The German-French engine is in very good shape.

Mon cher ami Bruno, merci beaucoup.

Erlauben Sie mir vielleicht auch noch kurz ein paar wenige Worte auf Deutsch zu sagen.

Ich freue mich sehr, gemeinsam mit Bruno Le Maire, heute unsere nationalen Aufbaupläne vorstellen zu können. Denn damit schließt sich der Kreis. Ende April vergangenen Jahres haben wir beide den deutsch französischen Vorschlag für einen EU Aufbaufonds entwickelt. Ich bin sehr froh, dass Europa unserem Vorschlag gefolgt ist und wir heute unsere jeweiligen Aufbaupläne gemeinsam präsentieren können.

Wir haben mit dem Aufbaufonds ein neues Kapitel in Europas Geschichte aufgeschlagen. Dank des Aufbaufonds erhalten alle Mitgliedsstaaten, alle, die notwendigen finanziellen Ressourcen, um ambitionierte Aufbaupläne umzusetzen. Das ist ein entscheidender Unterschied zur Finanzkrise vor etwa zehn Jahren. Das ist wegweisend für Europa und es ist im ureigenen deutschen Interesse, denn Deutschland wird nur erfolgreich sein, wenn auch Europa erfolgreich ist.

Deutschland hatte sehr früh im Juni des vergangenen Jahres ein Konjunktur- und Zukunftspaket auf den Weg gebracht. Der heute im Kabinett verabschiedete deutsche Aufbauplan baut unmittelbar auf diesem Paket auf. Wir setzen ein klares Signal für eine klimafreundliche und digitale Zukunft. 90 Prozent der im deutschen Aufbauplan vorgesehenen Ausgaben fördern den Klimaschutz und die digitale Transformation.

Insgesamt sieht unser Aufbauplan Ausgaben in Höhe von rund 28 Milliarden Euro brutto vor. Wir wollen die vielfältigen Chancen der Digitalisierung nutzen. 14 Milliarden Euro sind für den digitalen Wandel in unseren Planungen vorgesehen.

Klimaschutz ist die größte Herausforderung unserer Zeit. Spätestens im Jahr 2050 wollen wir klimaneutral wirtschaften. Wir investieren deshalb 40 Prozent der Finanzmittel in klimafreundliche Mobilität, in Wasserstofftechnologie und in die Gebäudesanierung. Es geht um 11 Milliarden Euro.

Nochmal ein paar Worte zur deutsch-französischen Zusammenarbeit im Allgemeinen und zu meinem Kollegen Bruno Le Maire im Besonderen.

Ohne unsere enge, vertrauensvolle Zusammenarbeit in den vergangenen Jahren, oft nächtelang, wären dieser Moment und viele andere weitere Fortschritte auf europäischer Ebene in den vergangenen Jahren nicht möglich gewesen. Gerade im Bereich der Finanzpolitik hatte zuvor auf EU-Ebene lange Stillstand geherrscht. Das haben wir verändert. Nur knapp drei Monate nach meiner Amtsübernahme legten wir in Meseberg eine gemeinsame Roadmap vor. Das war der Grundstein für wegweisende Reformen und Integrationsschritte. Und wir haben nicht nur angekündigt, sondern auch geliefert: ESM Reformen, Common Backstop und Eurozonenhaushalt, der von uns vorgeschlagene Stabilisierungsfonds für Arbeitslosigkeit ist verwirklicht. Heute haben wir SURE mit denen Millionen Arbeitsplätze in ganz Europa gerettet worden.

Das alles sind wichtige Fortschritte für ein starkes, solidarisches und zukunftsfähiges Europa. Bruno Le Maire und ich haben in den vergangen Jahren alles dafür getan, Blockaden aufzulösen, gemeinsame Lösungen zu erarbeiten und den deutsch-französischen Motor auf Hochtouren zu bringen. Gemeinsam haben wir viel geschafft.

Lieber Bruno, ich danke dir, auch nochmal auf Deutsch.

Ich danke dir auch, Olaf. Und ich freue mich auch, heute unseren Recovery Plan zusammen mit meinem Freund Olaf Scholz vorstellen zu können. Das bedeutet, glaube ich, dass wir zusammen mit Olaf in den vergangenen Jahren gut gearbeitet haben.

Dear Olaf, dear all, I would be pleased to present alongside Olaf Scholz our National Recovery and Resilience plans.

It was important for us to do this presentation together. As Germany and France have been working hand in hand since the beginning of the crisis. Looking back at the past year, we can be proud of what the European Union has achieved. We can be proud of what Franco-German cooperation has really achieved. This cooperation has been decisive on three fronts.

The first one is that we had the same analysis on the crisis. This is the worst economic crisis since 1929. No member state disputed the necessity to react. Second, we agreed on the instruments that needed to be put in place – state-guaranteed loans and partial unemployment schemes, for instance. We also agreed on the necessity for the first time in European history to raise common debt for better efficiency and for stronger solidarity among member states. Third, we also agreed for the first time on the timetable.

Today, the priority is clearly to invest massively, not to consolidate public finances. We have drawn lessons from the past. We will come back to sound public finances as soon as the Covid-19 crisis is behind us. But thanks to this decision, we have been able to decide, in July 2020, a European recovery plan of €750bn. Today, France and Germany are taking another decisive step with this joint presentation with my friend Olaf of our National Recovery and Resilience plans.

The objective behind the recovery plans is to strengthen the coordination between member states and to make sure our economies are emerging more strongly than before. Our political goal cannot be only to come back to the situation before the crisis. Our political goal must be to have stronger economies with better technologies designed to fight against climate change. And I share the point of view expressed by Olaf. The fight against climate change is clearly the challenge for all European countries for the coming decades.

In this regard, let me highlight the main features of the plan that France will publish today. The implementation of France Relance, which we presented last September is well under way. €30bn have already been disbursed in 2021. Our recovery plan is based on three pillars: a green transition, competitiveness, social and territorial cohesion. First, 50% of the investments of our national recovery plan are devoted to the climate transition. Our plan fully contributes to the objective of reducing by 2030 greenhouse gas emissions by 55% compared to 1990 levels. We have put in place the so-called MaPrimeRénov’ for the energy retrofitting of buildings. Already 230,000 applications have been submitted. It is a great success of France Relance. Second, 25% of the investments are devoted to the digital transition. We are investing massively in the digitalisation of businesses and the digital transformation of the state and the regions, as well as in digital skills. We had foreseen €280m for the digitalisation of industrial SMEs. Because the scheme we built was so efficient and needed, we will end up spending one billion euros. Third, our plan also fully responds to the social ambition of the European recovery plan. We are taking bold measures to enhance the training of young people, to invest in skills and to modernise the health system. Already, one million young people have been supported by France Relance. Because we are fully aware young people are bearing the brunt of the crisis. We have a debt toward them and we pay it.

France also presents today an ambitious reform agenda. And I want to be very clear on this issue: We are not introducing reforms for the benefit of the European Commission. We are introducing reforms for the benefit of French citizens and the French nation. The crisis must not divert us from our efforts to respond to the challenges of the French economy. Before the crisis, we knew where we should focus our efforts: increase the competitiveness of our economy, reduce unemployment by investing in skills, and lower the level of taxation. Since we had the highest level of taxation amongst the developed countries, there was no other choice but to reduce this level of taxation and we did it.

We knew that we should engage directly in the ecological transition and pursue the digitalisation of companies and public services, and we did it. We intend to continue responding to these challenges and enabling us to return to the 2019 level of economic activity no later than 2022.

We need to pursue our reform agenda in the interest of the country, and I want to insist on that very important choice. This is consistent with France Relance, which aims to prepare France for 2030. This is why our plan contains ambitious reforms such as the Climate and Resilience Bill, which will accelerate the climate transition, the finalisation of the unemployment insurance reform, the strengthening of the governance framework of our public finances and the quality of our public spending. If we want to restore sound public finances in France – and we are fully committed to that – we need to put in place a multiannual framework with an expenditure rule. Once again, these reforms are not being implemented because it is a request from the European Commission, but because this is in the interest of the French nation. This is the same for pension reform. It is not a prerequisite from the EU, but I continue to think it is indispensable when the time comes.

The European recovery plan will also fund joint projects in the form of important projects of common European interest. Competitiveness in cutting-edge technologies can only be achieved on the European scale. No nation alone has the possibility of investing at the level which is required to advance key technologies and disruptive technologies at a mass scale. France and Germany have already started joint cooperation following the impetus given by Chancellor Merkel and President Macron in the Aachen Treaty. This Franco-German cooperation is at the core of our respective recovery and resilience plans in several key areas such as hydrogen, cloud, electronics and telecommunications, as well as artificial intelligence and batteries. What is at stake is quite clear.

Either we are able to invest together for those technologies and we will remain in the race between China and the United States or we will become fully dependent on China and the US and we will disappear. The future of the EU cannot be based on dependence, it must be based on technological independence, which is key for political sovereignty. Tomorrow, as I've just said, with Spain and Italy, we will submit together our national recovery plans to the Commission. The political responsibility of the member states and the Commission is now to make the European recovery plan a concrete reality for our citizens as soon as possible. Member states have to submit their recovery and resilience plans and to ratify the Own Resources Decision as soon as possible.

The Commission should analyse national recovery and resilience plans as soon as possible so that they can be approved by the Council in July at the latest. This will allow the money to flow before the end of the summer once our plan has been adopted by the Council. We should receive a first payment of 13%, which represents €5.1bn in the case of France. Let us be clear. We were very efficient last year in the adoption of the European recovery plan and on the decision on common debt issuance, thanks to the impetus given by Olaf Scholz and myself and given then by Chancellor Merkel and President Macron. Since then, we have lost too much time. China has resumed its growth, the US is booming. The EU must remain in the race.

Permettez moi de conclure par quelques mots en français, comme l'affaire mon ami Olaf Scholz en allemand. D'abord, je voudrais dire à quel point je suis heureux de présenter ce plan avec mon ami Olaf Scholz, avec qui j'ai travaillé à la perfection depuis maintenant plusieurs mois. Nous y avons passé des nuits blanches, nous y avons passé des jours de négociations, mais nous y sommes arrivés et je crois que c'est la meilleure illustration que l'on puisse donner de l'importance de cette coopération franco allemande, à notre niveau comme au niveau de la chancelière Angela Merkel et du président de la République. Emmanuel Macron, Quand la France et l'Allemagne veulent, l'Europe peut. Ce plan de relance marque également, selon moi, le passage de l'Union européenne à l'âge adulte. L'âge adulte, c'est celui de l'indépendance. l'Union européenne doit cesser de compter sur les forces des autres. l'Union européenne doit compter sur ses propres forces et c'est ce que nous faisons avec le plan de relance européen. N'attendons pas des solutions des Etats-Unis, de la Chine ou d'autres continents. Attendons des solutions de nous mêmes. C'est cela être adulte. C'est cela, être indépendant. L'âge adulte, c'est aussi l'âge des possibles, celui où l'on sait ce que l'on veut réaliser et ce que l'Union européenne veut réaliser, c'est une économie durable, respectueuse du climat. Juste. Et attentive à la planète. Enfin, à l'âge adulte, c'est celui où l'on découvre que l'on est plus fort avec les autres plutôt que seul et que, par conséquent, l'Union européenne sera plus forte si elle est fondée sur la solidarité des nations plutôt que sur l'individualisme de chacune. Je voudrais enfin rappeler un fait national le plan de relance français fonctionne et il fonctionne bien. Nous avons déjà engagé 30 milliards d'euros sur les 100 que nous avions prévu avec le président de la République, soit un tiers du plan de relance à Prime rénove la digitalisation des paiements industriels, les relocalisations industrielles qui sont aujourd'hui un grand succès et qui montre que les décennies de délocalisation peuvent être derrière nous et que la relocalisation industrielle peut être un combat que nous allons gagner. Le soutien aux plus jeunes qui sont ceux qui ont le plus payé pendant cette crise, avec aujourd'hui 500 000 jeunes qui sont enfin en apprentissage pour la première fois de notre histoire. Tout cela montre qu'il est possible d'engager le redressement économique de la France et que nous allons gagner. Et dans ces temps qui sont si difficiles pour beaucoup de Français, où je vois partout en France les inquiétudes et doutes du désarroi, les interrogations sur nos propres forces nationales. Je veux simplement dire à nos compatriotes que nous pouvons encore croire dans notre nation et encore croire dans l'Europe.

Thank you. We now come to the Q&A session, the first question comes from AFP.

And hello, everyone, I have two questions for both ministers, if I may. You said it was important that France and Germany present their plans together. Is it a sort of message you want to send to some European states to accelerate the ratification process of the European recovery plan? And another question, even if there is a certain delay, the European plan seems to be on track. But when you see what the administration is doing in the US and the economic boom in China, don't you think the European Union should go further with another plan maybe or something to raise the European economic ambition and the economic recovery? Thank you.

So possibly I will start answering those questions first. I think we are on track, not just Germany and France, but also other nations. You heard already that we are going to present – together with Italy and Spain – our plans, and that we are working with the Commission, and many other countries do the same. On the other hand, there is this ongoing ratification process, and I'm quite confident that we will be successful in the end. Second, we are doing a lot. Europe is different to the United States. We have the member states with their fiscal strategies they developed to fight against a crisis, and – something that is new – we have a common European answer organised by the Union. And all this together is a very big programme which makes a difference in the fight against the crisis. It is different from the way we did it 10 years ago. It is a difference in the way we are doing it compared with other nations. So I am really, really confident that we are working with a very strong programme that makes the difference and which is very good on the global scale.

Well, maybe two remarks. First of all, on the comparison with Biden's recovery plan. I think that this comparison between the United States and Europe, as I've just said, is unfair and inadequate. Because if you want to make comparisons between the two continents, you should take into account all social policies in Germany, in France, everywhere in Europe, and everybody is aware that the social policies in Europe are stronger than the ones in the US. And you should also take into account the money we spend to fight against the consequences of the crisis with all the instruments I just mentioned in my presentation. So let's avoid that kind of comparison. I think that the key point is to be sure that our plan is well underway, well on track, and is implemented as soon as possible. So before thinking about the possibility of having a new plan, let's adopt this plan. Let's adopt a decision on the own resources and let's implement the decisions of the plan. And we will see in a few weeks where we are as far as growth in Europe is concerned, and then we will take the necessary decisions. But the key point now is to implement the European recovery plan as it stands.

Thank you. The next question comes from Markus Preiß, ARD.

Yes, good afternoon, thanks, everybody. Thanks, ministers, for the opportunity. You both stressed how important it is to invest in climate protection and in digitalisation. But if I have it right, one point last summer was also that the plans should effectively address challenges identified in the European Semester, particularly the country-specific recommendations. I don't hear much about that in the presentations. And my question is, is it not the time for tax reforms and pension reforms because there's a certain sense of urgency in spending. Thank you.

The two countries addressed all the questions of the European Semester. This is what we were discussing with the Commission before we made the final decision on our plans. And it is about all the questions which are important for us for the future. This is climate change. This is the question of digitalisation. Yes. This is also the question of competitiveness and of government reforms. And all these questions are part of what we propose.

I may add one point on pension reform. You know how convinced I am of the necessity of pension reform in France, but frankly speaking, we do not need any kind of recommendation, neither from EU countries nor from the Commission, to be aware of the necessity of having pension reforms in France. So I think that things are quite clear. We know that there is a need for pension reform in France. We have to wait till the Covid crisis is over and it is not dependent on any kind of recommendation. We are fully aware of the reforms that are required on that front.

Thank you. The next question comes from …

Hello. I have just one question for Mr. Scholz. It's the national recovery plan. France plans to start reducing its debt in 2027. I would like to know if you consider that this objective is sufficiently ambitious to avoid a too great fiscal divergence between France and Germany. Thank you.

I think there's always a difference between the different nations in Europe because the circumstances are different. Also, you should know that the most important time for paying back some of the debt we are taking on now in Germany starts in 2026. This is not that big of a difference.

You know, I think if I may add one word that Olaf is an excellent diplomat. He should be not only Minister of Finance, but also Minister of Foreign Affairs. We are aware of the divergence in public finances, and – let's be clear – we are fully committed to improving the situation of French public finances over the next years.

The next question comes from Mr Hanke, Handelsblatt.

Thank you very much for taking my question. It certainly is good news to see the French and German engine finally hit the road. But when it comes to the national plans, the French and German motor resembles more an old internal combustion engine than a state of the art electric motor, I would say. The German plan was widely criticised as mainly refinancing already existing initiatives. And as far as the French plan is concerned, Bruno Le Maire, as far as I can see, you propose a new kind of a golden rule, but no new structural reforms. You've got the existing reforms, the reform for the jobless insurance scheme from 2019 and some other reforms, but nothing new. So tell us, where is the beef? Thank you.

To speak about the beef, we have taken a lot of very strong decisions to fight for the future. All the plans we developed since the crisis came over us were about climate change and were about digitalisation. And this is the same path in Europe. And I see in all the national plans from the different countries that they refer to these very important tasks for the future. And as we now developed our part for the European recovery plan, we could use this to start doing these activities. And all the others have done the same. So there is a lot of new investment which is coming for digitalisation, which is coming for new technologies such as hydrogen, and for fighting climate change. And this is the beef, if I may say it like this – what will be the wording in 40 years? I don't know.

I'm not veg, but too much beef would be bad for your health, you know. So there is beef, but too much beef could be dangerous for your health. Well, there is beef in the French National Recovery Plan with three key reforms. The first one is at the finalisation of the unemployment insurance reform. And let's be clear, that's a very ambitious reform. And introducing such a reform in a period of crisis is, I think, a very clear signal of the determination of President Macron and myself to stick to the path of reforms for France. The Climate and Resilience Bill is the second point on which I would like to be very clear. It is an ambitious reform and an ambitious bill which should change things as far as climate change is concerned in France. And the third point is the improvement of the governance framework of our public finances, with two points – first, the improvement of the quality of our public spending. We are fully committed to assessing the efficiency of public finances and to see which public finances and public spending are efficient and which ones are inefficient and could be reduced. And we are also committed to introducing a multiannual framework with an expenditure rule. Having a multiannual framework is clearly a game changer for how we deal with public finances in France. I would like to insist on that very last point.

The next question comes from Paola Tamma, Politico.

Thank you very much. My question is for Mr Scholz. Germany, in the negotiations leading up to the recovery fund, has always been adamant that the country-specific recommendations in the European Semester should be the necessary assessment criteria for any national plans. However, in the German CSRs in 2019, the commission is calling for pension reform and tax cuts on labour. Do you think that other countries will be ambitious in their own reform efforts if the largest member state is not?

There is a different view between you and me about what is the fact? The fact is that we are doing very ambitious reforms and we are following absolutely the ideas and proposals of the European Semester, as others will do. And as you know, we had a very big tax cut for workers, for employees during this period, and a lot of others during this time. The biggest one was about €10bn just in one decision. And there were a lot of others. So you see, we are on track.

The next question comes from Le Monde.

Yes, hello. I have one question for Minister Le Maire. You mentioned the expenditure rule that you want to introduce. Can you be more specific on when and how you want to introduce it? I think there was a law being prepared by some parliament member recently. And second question, have I understood right that the first money from the European plan will flow only in September and not in July as expected? Thank you.

As far as the second question is concerned, I think that the money should come as soon as possible, at the latest in September. But if there is any possibility to get the money a little bit earlier, I think it would be better for all of us, but by September at the latest. But if it can be sooner, let's say in July, it would be better for all of us. As far as the multiannual rule is concerned, as you know, this is something which is, to me, absolutely decisive if we want to restore sound public finances. To have the possibility of deciding the level of public expenditures over five years and not only over one year is a clear guarantee for sound public finances in France. You know that Éric Woerth, the president of the Finance Committee, and Laurent Saint-Martin are working on a bill introducing this rule. I don't have any timetable to give to you, but this could be one of the possibilities to introduce such a rule.

Next is David Böcking, Der Spiegel.

Yes, thank you. I have a question to both ministers regarding taxation. You just announced in an interview with Die Zeit that you are backing the US proposal for a 21% corporate tax rate. And, of course, you've been endorsing the idea of taxation before that. But there are states within the EU, like Ireland, that are much more hesitant and have built their economies on lower corporate taxes. What can you offer these member states to convince them of such arelatively high rate?

We are now fighting very hard for the new principles, and international taxation and a global minimum taxation rule is one of them. And we worked on this question for a very long time. When we started with our proposals some years ago, no one expected that we might be successful. And now everyone is addressing that we will come to an end of the international negotiations in summer of this year. About the concrete details, we will have to find an agreement with everyone else. But it's obvious that we understand the necessity for taking courageous decisions. And now the rest is something which is part of the ongoing process. But let me just repeat, I'm quite optimistic that we will have a good solution this summer, and this will change international taxation a lot and will end the race to the bottom. We see today in the international taxation of corporations – and you see this globally, not just looking at certain spheres or continents – you see globally that all the big countries, even if they have very different views on taxation, understand that if they have important infrastructure to finance, they will have to tax someone in order to do so. And it makes no sense to argue that there is no way of financing the necessary investment into schools, infrastructure, universities, research and development and all the things you need for a good society. So my view is that we are now on a very good track. We will have a solution. It will be a consensus and a compromise, obviously, but it is now in a situation we never would have expected some years ago. And this is really, really something very promising.

We have been working for more than four years on this new international taxation system. So I just can repeat what I have been explaining many times, three points. The first one, it is absolutely decisive to come to an agreement on the two pillars, digital taxation and minimum taxation. What is at stake is the fairness and the efficiency of the international taxation system for the 21st century. My second point is that for the first time, as Olaf just said, we have the historical possibility of getting to a compromise and to an agreement by next July. So let's do our best efforts and we will not spare our national efforts to do so in close cooperation with Germany to come to an agreement within the OECD by next summer. And my last point, I made this point many times very clear. A race to the bottom on the taxation issue cannot be the solution for European countries because we have to finance public services. We have to finance universities, schools, hospitals. And a race to the bottom in the taxation system would not be a solution for any European country.

Next is …

Yes, hello everyone. The general escape clause has been activated until the end of 2022 and we have now to draw a new fiscal framework for the future. So I was wondering if you could give us some insight of what Germany is willing to do. Are you, for instance, ready to drop off some thresholds like the three percent deficit rule to focus on more specific targets, country by country, maybe focused on debt sustainability?

Thank you for your question. I think everyone understands that right in this crisis, the European Stability Pact shows its flexibility. We are able to do what is necessary and I think this is the message of this time.

Next question from Sarah Collins.

Hello everyone. It's a little bit of a follow-up on the OECD question, and then one other also on tax. On the OECD tax deal, you've said that we will have a good solution this summer. If you can't say whether it will be 21% on pillar two, can you say if it will be as low as 12.5%? And secondly, do you see the recovery and resilience plans as a way to pressure countries like Ireland to change their corporate taxation strategies, as the commission has been recommending? Thank you.

My view is that we are now on a good track. We will come to an end in summer and if you want to change the place from journalist visiting, what is happening to being a politician deciding on it, this is always feasible. But now, as a politician, I would say we are doing our job. You will be informed about the outcomes of the way of finding a good solution and a compromise in summer with all the others. And it is now our task to make it happen and not to analyse the situation. So let's do it. It's not too many weeks until then. And on the second question, which was about what? Give me a word.

Sorry, so the recovery and resilience plans, do you see these plans as a way to pressure countries like Ireland to change their tactics?

It is not the style of the French republic and of Germany to do things like this.

I have nothing to add to what Olaf just said.

So no further questions. Thanks to everyone for participating. Have a nice day and stay healthy.

Tschüss.

Tschüss.