Policy Updates

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German Parliament adopts second supplementary budget worth US$26.2 billion

On July 1, 2020, the German Parliament approved a second supplementary budget for 2020 worth €24.0 billion (US$26.2 billion) to finance Germany’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as its economic stimulus package. The German government will, therefore, spend a total of €508.5 billion (US$554.6 billion) this year.

The supplementary budget includes budget increases for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) amounting to €1.6 billion (US$1.7 billion) for 2020. BMZ’s budget will, thus, amount to €12.4 billion (US$13.6 billion) in 2020. Another €1.6 billion in budget increases will be added towards BMZ’s 2021 budget. Taken together this sum almost equals the €3.2 billion (US$3.4 billion) requested by Development Minister, Gerd Müller, to finance his Corona Response Package.

BMZ’s budget increases for 2020 encompass increased contributions to international organizations amounting to a total of €48 million (US$52 million). For example, Germany’s contribution to the ‘Global Partnership for Education Fonds’ (GPE) increased from €50 million (US$55 million) to €75 million (US$82 million) and its contribution to UNICEF will be raised by €20 million (US$22 million) to a total of €90 million (US$98 million) in 2020.

Through the second supplementary budget, the Foreign Office (AA) will receive €560 million (US$611 million) for ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Crisis Prevention’. The Ministry of Health (BMG) will receive an additional €22.8 billion (US$24.9 billion).

The Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will receive an additional €2.0 billion (US$2.2 billion), including €560 million (US$611 million) channeled to the budget line 'Health research and health economy'.

Press release – German Parliament (in German)

Press release – German government (in German)

German Development Ministry makes support of partner countries in combatting COVID-19 key priority during its EU Council Presidency

On July 1, 2020, Germany assumed the Presidency of the Council of the EU, which the country will hold for the next six months. In addition to mitigating the political and socio-economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, Germany will focus on climate protection, digitalization, and the EU’s role in the world.

The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has announced its key priority topics during the Council Presidency, putting special emphasis on supporting low- and middle-income countries to overcome the COVID-19 crisis and on providing assistance in the countries’ social and ecological restoration. Among the BMZ’s priorities are:

  • The expansion of the EU’s ‘Team Europe’ approach to support partner countries in their COVID-19 response;
  • Adopting a joint EU-Africa strategy at the EU-AU summit;
  • Finalizing a new EU agreement with countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific ('Post-Cotonou Agreement');
  • Promoting greater corporate responsibility in global supply chains; and
  • Increasing the EU’s engagement in the fields of global health, food security, and water supply in line with the 'One Health' approach.

For the German Ministry of Health (BMG), the joint response to COVID-19 and the strengthening of the EU’s future capacity to respond to health crises are key priorities during the Council Presidency. The ministry will put special emphasis on:

  • Expanding Europe’s production capacities for medical products and devices;
  • Promoting the creation of a European health data space; and
  • Strengthening European public health organizations such as the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Press release – BMG

Press release – BMZ (in German)

Donor Tracker to host webinar on donors’ international COVID-19 response following Global Goal Summit pledges

On July 2, 2020, from 16:00-17:00 (CEST), Donor Tracker will host a second webinar on donor countries’ international COVID-19 responses following the Global Goal Summit. The Summit, held on June 27, raised US$6.9 billion for developing globally accessible COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.

The Donor Tracker's expert team will analyze the Summit's outcomes and discuss implications for donor countries’ further international responses to the pandemic.

Registration - Zoom 

Germany pledges US$1.7 billion for humanitarian assistance in Syria and neighboring countries

At the ‘IV Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region’ on June 30, 2020, Germany pledged €1.6 billion (US$1.7 billion) in funding for humanitarian, development, and stabilization assistance for Syrians inside Syria and in neighboring countries. €1.0 billion (US$1.1 billion) will be provided for 2020 and another €573 million (US$625 million) is earmarked for the years 2021 and beyond.

Of this funding, €940 million (US$1.0 billion) will be provided by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Additional funding for humanitarian assistance in the region will be provided through Germany’s second supplementary budget, adopted on July 2, 2020, by the German Parliament.  

The conference could mobilize a total of US$ 5.5 billion in funding for 2020 and raise multi-year pledges of close to US$ 2.2 billion for 2021 and beyond. In addition, international financial institutions and donors announced around $6.7 billion in concessional loans.

Press release – BMZ (in German)

Press release – Federal Foreign Office

Press release – Council of the EU

Germany pledges US$418 million at Global Goal Summit

At the June 27, 2020, Global Goal Summit, hosted by the European Commission and Global Citizen, Germany pledged €383 million (US$418 million) to support the global COVID-19 response.

Of this funding, €150 million (US$164 million) will be channeled towards the Global Fund's Response Mechanism, and €233 million (US$254 million) will go to organizations helping people in low-income countries cope with the consequences of the pandemic.

In her speech, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reemphasized the importance of equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics for everyone, everywhere. Together with Germany’s pledge of €525 million (US$573 million) at the Coronavirus Global Response Pledging Conference on May 4, 2020, Germany has pledged a total of €908 million (US$990 million) to the global COVID-19 response so far.

The summit raised a total of US$6.9 billion in funding to ensure universal access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.

Press release – Global Citizen

Video – Global Citizen (Speech Angela Merkel)

German Minister of Health pledges additional US$290 million to WHO, bringing total 2020 contribution up to historic US$545 million

On June 25, 2020, the German Federal Minister of Health, Jens Spahn, announced an additional €266 million (US$290 million) of funding to the World Health Organisation's (WHO’s) core mandate and its international COVID-19 response. 

€41 million (US$45m) will be channeled to WHO’s core mandate until 2023, while €25 million (US$27 million) in funding will be distributed to the implementation of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.

An additional €200 million (US$218 million) will be channeled to WHO in 2020, on top of the €110 million (US$120 million) already pledged in May. Altogether, Germany will contribute a total of €500 million (US$545 million) to WHO in 2020: Germany’s highest annual amount ever pledged to WHO.

Spahn emphasized that Germany’s increased funding comes with the expectation that current challenges within WHO will be adequately addressed and that necessary reforms will move forward. 

Video – WHO (Press Conference with Jens Spahn)

News article – Die Zeit (in German)

As Germany takes reigns of EU Council Presidency, Merkel says solidarity will be her guiding principle

In a speech in the German Parliament on June 18, 2020, German Chancellor Angela Merkel outlined her vision for Germany’s Presidency of the EU Council, which Germany will hold for six months beginning on July 1.

The presidency will focus primarily on recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and making the EU more resilient against future crises. In order to achieve these goals, Merkel said, change and progress must be accelerated within the EU. Solidarity, Merkel emphasized, is the only way for the EU and the globe at large to recover from the pandemic. This belief will serve as the guiding principle for the German Council Presidency.

In addition to efforts against COVID-19, Merkel mentioned three other priority areas:

  1. Climate protection and the transition to a climate-neutral economy;
  2. Digitalization of the economy and society; and
  3. Greater global responsibility for Europe.

With a view to foreign policy, Merkel said her agenda would focus on joint management of the pandemic and on shaping relations with the African continent in a spirit of partnership. The world needs "Europe's strong voice for the protection of human dignity, democracy, and freedom," she said. Merkel also highlighted the Conference on the Future of Europe, which is now set for September 2020, as a potential forum in which to discuss reform proposals, for example, in foreign and security policy.

Merkel will also work towards ensuring that the European Council reaches an agreement on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and the Reconstruction Fund as soon as possible.

News article – euraktiv

News article – Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German)

Proposed second supplementary budget from German Ministry of Finance includes additional US$1.7 billion for Development Ministry in 2020, 2021

On June 15, 2020, the German Ministry of Finance (BMF) put forward its draft of a second supplementary budget for 2020 worth €24.0 billion (US$26.2 billion) to finance Germany’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, as well as its economic stimulus package. On June 16, 2020, the supplementary budget was adopted by the Federal Cabinet and will now have to be approved by the German Parliament.

The proposal includes budget increases for the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) amounting to €1.6 billion (US$1.7 billion) for 2020. Another €1.6 billion in budget increases will be added towards BMZ’s 2021 budget. Taken together this sum almost equals the €3.2 billion (US$3.4 billion) requested by Development Minister, Gerd Müller, to finance his Corona Response Package. Müller welcomed the budget increase, stating that Germany is setting “an important example of solidarity, thereby fulfilling its responsibility in the world”.

Through the second supplementary budget, the Foreign Office (AA) will receive €560 million (US$611 million) for its humanitarian assistance work, the Ministry of Health (BMG) and the Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will receive additional €22.8 billion (US$24.9 billion), and €2 billion (US$2.1 billion), respectively.

Press release – BMF (in German)

News article – tagesschau (in German)

Press release – BMZ (in German)

Investing US$327 million in pharmaceutical company CureVac, German government acquires minority stake of 23%

On June 15, 2020, the German Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, announced that Germany would invest €300 million (US$327 million) in the biopharmaceutical company CureVac AG. The investment will be made by the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). Under the agreement, the German government will hold a minority stake of 23% in CureVac.

According to Altmaier, Germany’s investment decision reflects the government’s interest in both accelerating the company’s vaccine development programs and securing more national independence in the entire production process of medical substances and vaccines.

Press release – Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (in German)

Italy, Germany, France, and Netherlands sign agreement with British drugmaker for 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in clinical trials

The Inclusive Vaccines Alliance, a group formed by France, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands, signed a contract with the British drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply up to 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccine, developed by the University of Oxford, is still in clinical trials. If the trial results convince regulators the vaccine is safe and effective, deliveries are expected to start by the end of 2020.

The Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, announced that the vaccine would be distributed for free, starting with the highest-risk groups. Speranza added that a significant part of the production process would take place in Italy.

Press release - Italian Ministry of Health website

Germany will prioritize efforts against child labor, sexual exploitation in EU Council Presidency

In recognition of the World Day Against Child Labour, German Development Minister Gerd Müller announced that his Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) will make the fight against child labor and sexual exploitation a focus of Germany’s EU Council Presidency (June – December of 2020).

Concretely, his ministry aims to lay the foundations for a European supply chain law, which would oblige all companies to pay fair wages and end child labor along their supply chains. Minister Müller together with the Geman Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil, have been advocating for a supply chain law for Germany since December 2019.

Press release - BMZ (in German)

Germany pledges US$763 million at Gavi’s Global Vaccine Summit: equal to 2015 pledge

At the Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance in London on June 4, 2020, Germany pledged US$654 million for the period of 2021-2025, equaling its pledge to Gavi in 2015 for the period of 2016-2020. However, Germany announced an additional €100 million earmarked for Gavi’s COVID-19 response, bringing Germany’s contribution to a total of US$763 million. Germany was represented at the event by German chancellor Angela Merkel. 

Merkel emphasized Gavi’s pivotal role in both making vaccines “affordable, available and freely accessible worldwide” and in rolling out an eventual COVID-19 vaccine.“It is also vital to strengthen health-sector actors such as Gavi," she said, "because as soon as a suitable vaccine has been found, we need to be in a position to start a global vaccination campaign without delay." 

Merkel’s pledge prompted the criticism of an alliance of six German NGOs which, in the run-up to the pledging event, had called on the German government to increase its contribution to Gavi’s 2021-2025 strategic period by €100 million to a total of €700 million. “The German pledge for the Gavi vaccination alliance announced today is falling short of our expectations. An increase in funds for Gavi's core tasks by a further €100 million would have been important - because due to the current pandemic, lifesaving vaccination services against measles or polio are currently disrupted in many countries, ”said a joint statement by the six development organizations Deutsche Stiftung Weltbevölkerung (DSW), Global Citizen, ONE, Plan International Germany, Save the Children and World Vision Germany.

News article – Deutsche Welle

Press release – BMZ (in German)

Press release – DSW (in German)

At Gavi's Global Vaccine Summit, world leaders exceed funding target with historic US$8.8 billion

Representatives of 52 countries, including 35 heads of state, joined the June 5, 2020, Global Vaccine Summit, convened by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to raise a total of US$8.8 billion in financing for childhood immunizations and vaccine infrastructure. World leaders, meeting with representatives of 12 organizations and corporations for the London-based pledging moment, hoped to reach a US$7.4 billion funding target. By the time the pledging ended, the target had been overshot by US$1.4 billion.

Against the backdrop of a still-raging COVID-19 pandemic which has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands and laid waste to the global economy, attendees of the summit spoke passionately about the need for global cooperation and solidarity in ensuring that a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, once developed, be accessible to all.

The US$8.8 billion will support Gavi's campaign to vaccinate 300 million children in the world's poorest countries against diseases including diphtheria, polio, and measles by 2025. Disruptions to Gavi's regular immunization activities, caused by COVID-19, have endangered an estimated 80 million children under one year old. The funding will also bolster Gavi's efforts in strengthening health systems in low-income states which have been ravaged by the pandemic and will help build out infrastructure to support the eventual provision of a vaccine against the virus.

A further US$567 million was also raised for 'Gavi Advance Market Commitment for COVID-19 Vaccines' (Gavi Covax AMC), a new financing instrument designed to provide access to the eventual COVID-19 vaccine specifically in low- and middle-income countries.

“To beat the COVID-19 pandemic, the world needs more than breakthrough science. It needs breakthrough generosity,” said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “...When COVID-19 vaccines are ready, this funding and global coordination will ensure that people all over the world will be able to access them.”

Press release - Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

German governing parties announce US$3.3 billion for international COVID-19 response as part of US$141.8 billion stimulus package

On June 3, 2020, the German governing parties CDU/CSU and SPD agreed on a €130 billion (US$141.8 billion) economic stimulus package in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The package includes €3 billion (US$3.3 billion) in additional funding for the international COVID-19 response to fight the pandemic, expand humanitarian assistance, provide preventive health care, and scale up the economic exchange between Germany and the African continent. The €3 billion will be distributed from 2020-2021, with €1.5 billion allocated each year. 
Development Minister Gerd Müller welcomed the parties’ decision to increase funding for the global COVID-19 response, stating that Germany's efforts would send “an important sign of solidarity”. With the €3 billion the German Development Ministry’s (BMZ’s) Emergency COVID-19 Support Program could be expanded, he said, and Germany could contribute to stabilizing particularly affected crisis and refugee regions. 
Müller had originally requested an additional €3.2 billion (US$3.4 billion) in funding for the BMZ Emergency COVID-19 Support Program from Germany’s 2020 supplementary budget. As of yet, it is not clear whether the now announced €3 billion will be solely channeled via the BMZ, or whether the funding will be also distributed to other ministries, such as the Federal Foreign Office.

Press release – Coalition committee’s stimulus package (in German)

News article – Deutsche Welle

News article – dpa (in German)

US’s announced withdrawal from WHO sends “wrong signal at the wrong time”, says German Foreign Affairs Minister

The US' planned withdrawal from the World Health Organization (WHO) amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked criticism from the German government. According to Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas, the withdrawal sends “the wrong signal at the wrong time”.  The COVID-19 pandemic is the first truly global crisis of the century, he said, and global cooperation is needed to meet this challenge.  

German Development Minister Gerd Müller echoed the criticism, stating that the world needed more international coordination and cooperation, not less. To balance the US’ withdrawal, Müller called for increased EU engagement and funding in the field of global health, criticizing the fact that the EU’s COVID-19 protection shield has so far operated only internally.  Müller repeatedly called to elevate the WHO to a world pandemic center and to globally join forces in a worldwide vaccination campaign.  

On May 29, 2020, US President Donald Trump announced that the US’ relationship with the WHO had been severed. It is unclear as yet whether Trump can implement this immediately and unilaterally. The US president has accused the WHO of being under Chinese control and of responding improperly to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

News article – Tagesschau (in German)  

Press release – Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (in German)  

German parliament passes motion for increased global health engagement

On May 28, 2020, the German parliament passed a motion submitted by the governmental parliamentary groups CDU/CSU and SPD, committing to greater engagement in the field of global health and explicitly supporting the WHO. The motion states that the WHO is "the only internationally legitimated authority on health issues" and should, as such, be “strengthened and sufficiently funded to meet the growing challenges". To this end, the motion explicitly calls for an increase in assessed contributions to the WHO. The Federal Government should promptly introduce the long-planned strategy for a global health policy and use the German EU Council Presidency from July to December of 2020 to elevate global health to a key priority within the EU.  

In the debate, the oppositional parties the Greens, the Free Democratic Party, and the Left called on the government to expand their engagement in health system strengthening in partner countries. The Greens and the Left advocate for Germany to spend at least 0.1% of its economic output on health-related development cooperation. 

Only the far-right party AfD fundamentally criticized the WHO and German health authorities during the debate, declaring them incompetent in their current COVID-19 response. 

News article – Tagesschau (in German) 

Press release  CDU/CSU and SPD motion on Global Health (in German)

German Development Minister calls for action on conditions in Moria refugee camp, increased funding for global development cooperation

In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, German Development Minister Gerd Müller called for increased funding for global development cooperation. “We have to see development funds as an investment in our own future,” Müller stated. Müller gave the example of climate resilience: Africa developing strong renewable energy capabilities continentally would be a prerequisite for successfully combatting climate change globally. To this end, supporting African nations in building up sustainable economies would ultimately benefit Germany as well, he said.

Müller further stressed the importance of implementing the planned federal supply chain law, drafted together with Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil. According to Müller, 50% of the German textile trade does not comply with the standards of ‘Germany’s Partnership for Sustainable Textiles’ yet. "This shows that voluntariness has its limits," Müller said. "Markets need clear rules.”

Müller repeatedly called on the EU to improve the conditions within the refugee camp Moria, currently hosting 20,000 people though suited for just 3,000. “I say it again: Moria is an eyesore in the middle of Europe. Responsibility must not be pushed back and forth forever”, he said.

News article- Berliner Zeitung (in German)

German development ministry presents new strategy on multilateral engagement

In April of 2020, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) presented its new 'BMZ strategy for a strong European and multilateral development cooperation'. The strategy aims to promote and strengthen multilateralism to effectively implement global development goals. To this end, the BMZ underlines its commitment to strengthening multilateral organizations, especially promoting increased EU engagement. According to the BMZ, the EU should act more strongly as a driving force to successfully implement the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement, and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Additionally, the BMZ wants to take the opportunity during Germany’s EU Council Presidency to promote its focus areas (e.g. EU-Africa cooperation, sustainable supply chains, digitalization).

The strategy also commits to focus internationally on climate protection, fair trade, health, education, and sustainable development across the Africa continent. The plan will also more strongly align the BMZ’s multilateral engagement.

Report – BMZ (in German)

Responding to "devestating consequences" of COVID-19 outbreak in world's largest refugee camp, Germany pledges US$11 million to improve hygiene infrastructure

In response to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in the Rohingya refugee camp Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, German Development Minister Gerd Müller announced an additional €10 million (US$11 million) in funding to the €15 million (US$16.3 million) already pledged in February.

According to Müller, the hygiene conditions in the refugee camps are shocking. “A corona outbreak has devastating consequences here. Isolation, social-distancing, and handwashing are not possible to the extent necessary,” he remarked. Germany is already engaged in improving the sanitary situation within the camp by establishing a sewer system and decentralized treatment plants, as well as setting up health structures, he said. With the outbreak of the virus, Germany will now intensify and accelerate these measures.

Press release – BMZ (in German)

German Minister of Education and Research announces US$815 million in funding for COVID-19 vaccine research and production

On May 11, 2020, Anja Karliczek, German Minister of Education and Research, announced a new program for the development and manufacture of vaccines against COVID-19 amounting to €750 million (US$815 million). The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will contribute €500 million (US$544 million) of the funding for the expansion of research capacities for vaccine development in Germany.

The program will provide funding to complex, costly vaccine studies with large numbers of participants, according to Karliczek. €250 million (US$272 million) will go towards expanding production capacities for a future COVID-19 vaccine. Companies can directly apply to the funding guidelines, which will now be developed by the BMBF.

Press release – Ministry of Education and Research (in German)


News article – Tagesschau (in German)