Day 6 – 26 November
Authors: Kane Robson & Claire Flint
After a weekend filled with a lovely river cruise down the Rhine, Christmas markets at Heidelberg
and plenty of local touristy sites at Rudeshiem the group spent Monday in Frankfurt.
Our first visit included a comprehensive presentation on the role of the European Central Bank (ECB)
who is responsible for the Eurosystem. Of the twenty-seven European Union countries there are
currently seventeen countries which use the Euro, with two special exceptions for the UK and
Denmark. The Euro is still used in Denmark by most shops but there is understandably little political
will to join the Eurosystem at the moment. The Euro was born out of the political will to create an
integrated Europe to prevent further conflict. The objectives of the ECB are largely similar to the four key convergence criteria of the Eurosystem, which are focused on creating certainties and maintaining business stability primarily through the maintaining price stability, which has now come
to be understood as a consistency of interest rates at a rate at or below 2%. One of the major issues facing the Euro is that some of the founding members (Germany included) have not always practised economic discipline so dealing with current economic issues is difficult in the climate of peer surveillance and diplomacy. After a number of perceptive questions from Finnish audience members we learnt that the EU economies currently having issues (cough, Greece, cough) are very unlikely to withdraw from the Euro because the cost would be too high. It was also interesting to see all the different designs of the coins, one for every country!
We then ventured to the Australian Consulate where we were treated to some amazing views over
Frankfurt and a discussion with representatives from AusTrade and the Australian Desk of Raupach
& Wollert-Elmendorff. The major focus for most Australian businesses looking to enter the German
market is to structure their company to comply with tax restrictions. The Australian desk deals with
either the German civil law system or the Australian common law system so there is little overlap
between the two.
The day was finished up at the Frankfurt Christmas markets which featured a terrific merry-go-round
and a spot of souvenir shopping.
Frankfurt Christmas Markets
Outside European Central Bank
European Central Bank Lecture
Lunch (and Presentation) at the Australian Consulate office
View from the Australian Consulate Office