G20 finance ministers meeting 2017 in Baden-Baden
From Stadtwiki Baden-Baden
The G20 finance ministers conference 2017 takes place from 17 to 18 March in Baden-Baden. Before the heads of state and government meet at the G20 summit in Hamburg in July there are several ministerial meetings beforehand. The finance ministers and central bank governors meet in Baden-Baden in March. 64 delegations with 600 delegation members are expected to participate in the event. By the beginning of March 540 journalists were accredited. The charming spa town, that counts approximately 55.000 inhabitants is once again in the focus of the global public, just 8 years after the NATO summit in 2009. The main venue is the Kurhaus Baden-Baden.
Topics and Agenda of the Conference
In general the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors talk about the global economic situation, monetary policy and furthermore about tax, financial market and banking related topics. Under the German presidency there is the additional main topic Africa, especially promoting investments in Africa. Risks of digitalization will be discussed as well.
Already at Wednesday, 15 March, first coordination meetings will take place. Starting Friday, 17 March, the finance ministers and central bank governors participate in the meetings. There is an expert symposium on Friday morning where the further cooperation is discussed. Afterwards the delegation members will have lunch in the famous hotel Brenners Parkhotel & Spa. The mayor of Baden-Baden Margret Mergen will give a welcome speech and offer the guests to make an entry into the town's visitor book. After the lunch the delegation members will head over to the Museum Frieder Burda where they can participate in the art action "Global Stone Garden". Afterwards the main G20 meeting will start in the venue Kurhaus Baden-Baden. In the evening the participants will have dinner in the opera house Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and will listen to a concert of German choral music. On Saturday the main G20 conference is continued in the Kurhaus. In the afternoon there will be several press meetings of the presidency and further countries in the Kongresshaus.
(Museum Frieder Burda)
Security Zones and Access Restrictions
There will be two security zones in the inner town area of Baden-Baden. The first main security zone will be set up from Thursday 16 March at 12 noon until Saturday 18 March at 6 p.m. This zone contains the main venue Kurhaus Baden-Baden, the Hotel Dorint, several museums, parts of the Lichtentaler Allee and the Hotel Brenners. In order to access the security zone one must have a legitimate interest. People living in the security zone area, shop owners and shop clients do have such an interest.
A second security zone around the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden will become effective on Friday from 12 noon until 12 midnight.
A special timetable for Baden-Baden's public transport system will become effective from Wednesday, 16 March, until and including Saturday, 18 March. All bus stops in the Lichtentaler Allee and Kaiserallee will be canceled during this time. Several bus lines will be guided through the Michaeltunnel.
The establishment of the security zones affects the traffic guidance in Baden-Baden. In several streets there will be no-parking zones, like in the Schützenstraße, Kapuzinerstraße, Hochstraße and Lessingstraße. The parking garage below the Kurhaus is not available to the public during the G20 meeting. All other parking garages may be used. Other parking spaces in the inner town area may be blocked for police and other security services.
In the air above Baden-Baden there will be a no flight zone. This affects mainly the paragliders who are normally starting from the local mountain Merkur. It is also forbidden to start drones or even to transport them in the inner town area in a ready-to-fly state.
Costs and Benefits
In Baden-Baden's construction committee a cost estimate of 800.000 Euro for the spa town was mentioned on 16 february 2017. In the German federal system different types of costs are borne by different levels.
At the citizen information event on 6 March mayor Margret Mergen touted to not only see the costs but also the benefits for Baden-Baden. She told the audience that the media attention during the G20 meeting is highly beneficial. There is also a positive effect on local businesses. Around 1.600 hotel rooms and a lot of tables in Baden-Baden's gastronomy were booked.
Counter Events and Demonstrations
Several counter events have been announced. The anti-globalisation organisation attac will hold a rally at the bridge Fieser-Brücke. On Saturday there will be a demonstration in the inner town area. The social-democratic party organizes a "summit march" to the peak of the local mountain Merkur.
The G20 was founded in 1999 and is an informal group of the world's 19 most important industrial countries and emerging markets and the European Union. The forum of G20 discusses financial and economic topics on an international level. Beside the EU the following countries are members of the G20: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the United States of America. In each year another member state assumes the precidency and organizes the summits and ministerial meetings. In 2017 Germany is the host country after China in 2016.
The idyllic spa town Baden-Baden only counts approximately 55.000 inhabitants. It is tempting to ask why the G20 conference takes place here, of all German cities. One answer to this question may be that the election district of Germany's financial minister Wolfgang Schäuble is located in close neighborhood to Baden-Baden. But there are other reasons as well. Baden-Baden has a long tradition to be the venue of important political meetings which goes back to the 19th century. Back then the sovereigns discovered the spa towns as neutral ground and ideal place for difficult negotiations. In June 1860 a meeting between 10 German sovereigns and emperor Napoléon III. took place in Baden-Baden in order to reduce political tensions between Austria and France. In autumn 1872 a three-emperors-meeting between emperor Wilhelm I., emperor Franz Joseph I. and tsar Alexander II. was held in Baden-Baden. In French there is the term "diplomatie thermale" which describes the interested but not binding form of politics with the goal to explore possibilities for alliances and to reduce the risk of upcoming misunderstandings. Later events like the meetings between Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer or the NATO summit in 2009 are proof that Baden-Baden was able to preserve this tradition.