Korinna, you represented Urgewald at the AIIB’s 2018 general meeting in Mumbai. Why is Urgewald paying attention to this bank?
The Federal Republic participates in AIIB financing, in other words with German taxpayer money. We think Germany must use this fact to promote the bank’s best possible human rights and environmental standards. The German finance ministry justified its AIIB membership by saying it would advocate the best practices of the bank.
But we’re talking about a bank that grants credits solely in Asia. Why should people in Germany still take an interest in the AIIB?
For the first time, Peking leads a multilateral bank, in which other Western states participate. Germany is the most important non-Asian shareholder and this is why the Federal Republic bears a large co-responsibility for whatever the bank does. In addition to its financial participation, Germany has an exclusive position, because the AIIB hopes to win international credibility through this globally respected shareholder. The Federal Republic also presided over the entire Eurogroup’s member states up to June 2018 and will continue to play a central role in representing these more than ten states. And it has a seat on the bank’s board, where Germany can make its voice heard and influence the bank’s guidelines. This is extremely important, because many of the Asian shareholders are comparatively uninterested in environmental and social standards and regard this as interference in their internal affairs. Here in Germany we have to ensure that our money is not used to finance projects that help to harm environmental or human rights.
At the same time, Germany is a powerful World Bank member at the side of the US. Were there any reactions here to Germany’s entry into the China-led AIIB?
The US Obama government specifically asked European countries not to join the AIIB. Neither the US or Japan, has joined the AIIB. Splitting the G7 states like this was a diplomatic victory for Peking.