Christian Lindner explains his behavior at the G20 finance ministers’ meeting – Politics

Tulips are blooming yellow in Lafayette Square in Washington. Tourists in sunglasses take pictures of each other, the lawn glows green, the sky blue, and the White House can be seen in the background. So everything would be arranged in the most beautiful way for Christian Lindner. Theoretically.

Late on Thursday afternoon, Washington time, the Federal Finance Minister wanted to make a brief stopover here on his way back to the airport. He has been in the US capital since Tuesday evening, at the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and at the meeting of the G-20 finance ministers. It’s Lindner’s first appearance on the big international stage, and in the end the right pictures should be there. Where Robert Habeck took up his position a month and a half ago. However, still without tulips and under bare trees.

And now this.

It is shortly before ten on Wednesday evening, and the journalists who have traveled with him and Lindner’s entourage are waiting for the minister in a deep-carpeted hall of the Washington conference hotel. Suddenly it is announced that he will not come. Lindner has Corona. “After two years without a Covid19 infection, yesterday a negative result in the test center and today a negative rapid test: positive,” he writes on Twitter. Thanks to three vaccinations, he had “only slight cold symptoms that subsided again”.

Lindner recorded a positive corona test in Washington

While the tulips and tourists on Lafayette Square shouldn’t give a damn whether they’re on German television or not, Lindner’s positive corona test on the other side of the Atlantic is causing upheaval. Actually, a fairly seamless change of roles was planned: Minister Lindner was supposed to land in the government plane in Berlin early Friday morning in order to start the same evening as FDP leader Lindner in the Liberal Party Congress. His speech is scheduled for Saturday at twelve o’clock in the Berlin station, a former train station in Kreuzberg. “The federal party conference is of course taking place as planned,” said FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Saai Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The federal chairman will probably be connected digitally.” We wish “a speedy and good recovery from the bottom of our hearts”.

The North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU), who tested positive on a trip to Israel and had to be quarantined on site, had a similar experience to Lindner. For ten days he carried out his official business from his hotel room in Jerusalem, and he was also connected to the prime ministers’ conference from there. The quarantine regulation will also prevent Lindner from the planned return flight, as it turns out in Washington on Thursday.

He is also missing from the “family photo” on Thursday. Corona ended the spring conference early for him, and he missed dinner with Janet Yellen, the US Secretary of the Treasury. But he was very comfortable when the basic conflict that had been smoldering from the start of the international meeting finally became visible on Wednesday.

In the morning, Lindner sits next to Bundesbank boss Joachim Nagel on the podium of a conference room in the conference hotel and gives a press conference. The first early-morning talks are already behind him, various other group formats in the G-20 and G-7 circles and several bilateral meetings are still ahead of him. He says that Russia needs to be isolated and that that signal needs to be sent out by the G-20 finance ministers’ meeting, which is about to begin.

“The aggressor Russia should not have participated.”

Shortly thereafter, this idea takes shape. When the Russian representative took the floor, several participants from other countries got up and left. Canadian Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland posted a photo on Twitter showing the group exiting the room. They include Yellen, Ukrainian Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag and EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.

Lindner, on the other hand, stays. Previously, in his statement, he is said to have sharply condemned Russia’s war of aggression and said that Ukraine would win this war. While the G-20 meeting remains without a joint closing statement, the G-7 finance ministers publish a joint statement in the evening. It sharply condemns Russia’s “groundless and unjustifiable war.” More than $24 billion has been pledged to Ukraine from 2022, it says. And we are ready to do even more.

On Thursday, Lindner tweeted with a view to the protests of the other states at the G-20 meeting: Democracies like Germany, France, Italy, Spain or Japan would not have to leave a G-20 meeting. “The aggressor Russia should not have participated.” He said that at the meeting. “May others express their attitude differently, we did it that way.”

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