Australian Cormann is the new head of the OECD

Former Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has been elected as the new Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As he explained on Friday, he wants to focus on the economic recovery after the corona crisis as well as on promoting ambitious measures against climate change and on a global agreement for the taxation of multinational tech giants.

Climate activists were disappointed with the choice of the Australian. “We have little confidence in Cormann’s ability to take on a leadership role in the OECD in addressing the climate crisis as he has so far had a terrible record in this area,” said Jennifer Morgan, executive director of Greenpeace International. When Cormann was finance minister, the Australian government “stubbornly failed to take effective measures to reduce emissions at home and at the same time acted consistently as a blocker in international forums”.

Cormann was born in Belgium and immigrated to Australia in 1996 at the age of 25. In the election for the office of Secretary General, he won a close race against the Swedish politician and former European Union Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, who had broadly supported most European countries.

The OCED, headquartered in Paris, includes 37 countries, in addition to Austria and other EU countries, these include the USA, Japan, Israel, Turkey and Mexico. Every year, the OECD writes around 500 international reports on everything from refugee policy to economic forecasts. Controversial issues such as an international digital tax are also being negotiated at the OECD level.

Cormann takes over from Angel Gurría, the Mexican has held the chair since 2006 and is leaving the post in May. The Australian resigned from parliament for the planned post at the OECD last year.

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