(L-R) Gilles Roth, Luxembourg's Minister of Finance; Kenji Okamura, IMF Deputy Managing Director; Credit: MFIN

As reported by Luxembourg's Ministry of Finance, Minister Gilles Roth attended the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) in Washington, DC in the United States from Wednesday 17 to Friday 19 April 2024.

On the agenda were current international challenges, such as the geopolitical situation, global economic prospects, including the risk of geoeconomic fragmentation, international cooperation and climate change.

Luxembourg's Minister of Finance participated in a meeting between IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and European political decision-makers. The discussions focused in particular on the risks of fragmentation of the global economy. In this sense, the meeting focused on how to strengthen competitiveness in Europe and on the roles of public investment and industrial policy.

Minister Roth emphasised in this context that "we are navigating a constantly changing global landscape, marked by several crises. It is essential that Europe finds the right balance between strengthening its economic attractiveness and international cooperation. We must maintain our commitment to open markets and oppose geoeconomic fragmentation and protectionism."

The discussions at the 49th plenary meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) focused primarily on Russian aggression against Ukraine, the short-term development of inflation and interest rates, as well as growth forecasts, country debt levels and the fragmentation of globalised economies.

These same issues marked the discussions during the traditional reception of the leaders of the main multilateral development banks at the Luxembourg Embassy. On this occasion, Minister Roth highlighted the subjects of interest and priorities for Luxembourg, as well as the role that the financial centre and in particular the Luxembourg Stock Exchange can play in supporting the work of multilateral development banks.

On the sidelines of the constituent meetings at the IMF and the WBG of which Luxembourg is a part, the Minister of Finance had meetings with the respective executive directors, Paul Hilbers (IMF) and Hayrettin Demircan (WB). These notably made it possible to take stock of international developments, economic prospects and recent institutional developments. Minister Roth also announced that the Luxembourg Ministry of Finance will organise, in collaboration with the Central Bank of Luxembourg (Banque centrale du Luxembourg), the annual meeting in 2025.

Minister Roth also met with several representatives of the IMF, namely the Deputy Managing Director, Kenji Okamura, and the Head of Mission for Luxembourg, Emil Stavrev. The discussions made it possible to draw the main conclusions on the missions of the Financial Sector Assessment Programme (FSAP) and Article IV in Luxembourg. In a meeting with Vladyslav Rashkovan, Deputy Executive Director for Ukraine, Luxembourg's finance minister reaffirmed solidarity and continued support for Ukraine. He also participated in the ministerial meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), on behalf of the Minister of Justice.

During his trip to Washington, Minister Roth also held a bilateral meeting with Turkey's Minister of Finance, Mehmet Şimşek. They discussed the current macroeconomic and geopolitical situation, as well as the priorities of the respective financial sectors. The Luxembourg minister similarly met with the Governor of the Bank of Israel, Amir Yaron, for an exchange of views.

At the end of the Spring Meetings, Minister Roth stated: "In these difficult times, multilateral institutions are essential to find solutions to global economic challenges. Luxembourg fully supports the multilateral world order, which is needed today more than ever."