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Ministry Detlev Rohwedder and the Treuhandanstalt

Following German reunification on 3 October 1990, the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Bundesrechnungshof (Germany’s supreme audit institution) moved into what is today the Detlev Rohwedder Building. Between 1991 and 1995, the remaining space was used by the Treuhandanstalt, the agency set up to privatise assets formerly owned by the East German state. The building was given its present name on 1 April 1992, in memory of the Treuhandanstalt’s first president, who had been assassinated a year earlier.

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Ministry The founding of the GDR in 1949

The building now known as the Detlev Rohwedder Building took on a significant role in the history of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) on 7 October 1949. It was on this day that the German People’s Council (a surrogate parliament for the Soviet occupation zone) declared itself the provisional People’s Chamber and put the constitution of the GDR into effect. The founding of the GDR, and hence the division of Germany, had been completed. After the People’s Chamber moved out, the building became the GDR’s House of Ministries.

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Ministry The East German uprising of 17 June 1953

In the years following the foundation of the German Democratic Republic in 1949, social tensions in the country increased rapidly. In 1953, the government tried to get the economic problems under control by raising work quotas. But finally the growing discontent among the population reached boiling point. On 17 June 1953, strikes and demonstrations broke out all over the GDR – including in front of the House of Ministries, today’s Finance Ministry.

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Ministry The Detlev Rohwedder Building – a reflection of German history

The Detlev Rohwedder Building was built between 1935 and 1936 as the headquarters of the Reich Aviation Ministry. Reich Aviation Minister Hermann Göring wanted it to be an expression of political power. This aim was reflected in the neoclassical architectural style, which despite its simplicity made a powerful impression on visitors. The then dark Stone Hall with its low pillars was designed to intimidate visitors, and the Great Hall with its architectural reliefs and marble floor was intended inspire awe. Today nothing remains of this oppressive atmosphere: modern interior fittings, art exhibits and the well-designed lighting lend the building a pleasant, bright feel.

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Ministry Walter Ulbricht and the construction of the Berlin Wall

It was a lie that made history: on 15 June 1961, Walter Ulbricht, head of state of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), denied rumours that there were plans to close the border between East and West Berlin. In fact nobody had asked if there were plans to build a wall; it was Ulbricht himself who introduced the idea into the discussion. To this day it is unclear why he did so. What is known is why he wanted to close the border. In the preceding years, millions of people had fled to West Germany from the economically depressed East. Less than two months later, construction began on probably the most famous symbol of the Iron Curtain.

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Ministry The resistance group “Rote Kapelle”

The former Reich Aviation Ministry was responsible for sending the German Luftwaffe into the Second World War, but it was also home to resistance to the Third Reich. Harro Schulze-Boysen, who worked at the ministry, was one of the leaders of the “Rote Kapelle” (“Red Orchestra”) resistance group, which was pursued for many years by the Nazis. During the 1930s he was at the centre of a network of opponents of the Nazi regime. When the Nazis succeeded in identifying the dissidents in 1942, over 50 members of the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group were sentenced to death – and executed.

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G7/G20 Olaf Scholz on the outcome of the G20 summit in Rome

Following the G20 summit in Rome on 30–31 October 2021, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz talks about the agreement on a global minimum effective tax, which he says will end harmful tax competition between countries. He also states that climate policy is shifting increasingly towards the implementation of concrete actions to help achieve climate targets.

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Fair taxation Keynote speech on the global corporate tax reform

With this reform, international corporate taxation is being made fit for purpose in an increasingly globalised and digitalised world. A global effective minimum tax will also hinder the harmful race to the bottom and hence ensure fairer taxation. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz hails the significance of this “historic agreement” in his keynote speech.

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Ministry The German Finance Ministry around the world

The German Finance Ministry offers interesting and varied opportunities – not only in Berlin and Bonn but also abroad. Around 80 to 90 Finance Ministry staff work in other countries all over the world.

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Fair taxation Olaf Scholz: Global corporate tax reform is on the way

Ahead of the G20 meeting in Washington, D.C., Finance Minister Olaf Scholz stated that the new international tax agreement will stop the race to the bottom in the area of corporate taxation and will generate significant additional tax revenue – including in Germany. It represents a revolutionary reform of international taxation.

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ECOFIN Doorstep by Olaf Scholz prior to the ECOFIN Council meeting in Slovenia

The EU finance ministers came together on 10–11 September 2021 in the vicinity of Ljubljana in Slovenia. Prior to the meeting, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz reported that they would be focusing on emerging issues that are relevant for a strong and sovereign Europe. He announced that the finance ministers would be discussing new digital options in the financial sector. Other items on the agenda included the next steps in reforming international corporate taxation, economic growth following the coronavirus crisis and the transition to a carbon-neutral economy and society.

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