Episode 44: Climate Policy and International Economic and Financial Cooperation

Jakob von Weizsäcker

Chief Economist and Director General for Economic and Fiscal Policy and Global Economy, German Federal Ministry of Finance

Jakob von Weizsäcker has been Chief economist and Director General for Economic and Fiscal Policy and Global Economy at the German Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany since 2019. From 2014 to 2019, he served as Member of the European Parliament for Thuringia (Germany), both as a member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and the Parliament's Delegation for the Relations with India. Previously, he worked - among others - at the Ministry for Economic Affairs of Thuringia, the Brussels-based think tank Bruegel, the World Bank and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs.

Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

President of AGI

Jeffrey Rathke is the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining AICGS, Jeff was a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at CSIS, where his work focused on transatlantic relations and U.S. security and defense policy. Jeff joined CSIS in 2015 from the State Department, after a 24-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, dedicated primarily to U.S. relations with Europe. He was director of the State Department Press Office from 2014 to 2015, briefing the State Department press corps and managing the Department's engagement with U.S. print and electronic media. Jeff led the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. He also served in Berlin as minister-counselor for political affairs (2006–2009), his second tour of duty in Germany. His Washington assignments have included deputy director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs and duty officer in the White House Situation Room and State Department Operations Center.

Mr. Rathke was a Weinberg Fellow at Princeton University (2003–2004), winning the Master’s in Public Policy Prize. He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dublin, Moscow, and Riga, which he helped open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Rathke has been awarded national honors by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as several State Department awards. He holds an M.P.P. degree from Princeton University and B.A. and B.S. degrees from Cornell University. He speaks German, Russian, and Latvian.



Peter S. Rashish

Vice President; Director, Geoeconomics Program

Peter S. Rashish, who counts over 30 years of experience counseling corporations, think tanks, foundations, and international organizations on transatlantic trade and economic strategy, is Vice President and Director of the Geoeconomics Program at AICGS. He also writes The Wider Atlantic blog.

Mr. Rashish has served as Vice President for Europe and Eurasia at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, where he spearheaded the Chamber’s advocacy ahead of the launch of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Previously, Mr. Rashish was a Senior Advisor for Europe at McLarty Associates, Executive Vice President of the European Institute, and a staff member and consultant at the International Energy Agency, the World Bank, UNCTAD, the Atlantic Council, the Bertelsmann Foundation, and the German Marshall Fund.

Mr. Rashish has testified before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia and has advised three U.S. presidential campaigns. He has been a featured speaker at the Munich Security Conference, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and the Salzburg Global Seminar and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jean Monnet Institute in Paris and a Senior Advisor to the European Policy Centre in Brussels. His commentaries have been published in The New York Times, the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and The National Interest, and he has appeared on PBS, CNBC, CNN, and NPR.

He earned a BA from Harvard College and an MPhil in international relations from Oxford University. He speaks French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Climate policy has become a major issue in German domestic politics and was a key topic for the recent German federal election. All major political parties in Germany included climate policy in their election programs. The Social Democratic Party’s (SPD) chancellor candidate, also the current Minister of Finance, proposed creating a “climate club” with other, similarly ambitious countries. On this Episode of The Zeitgeist, AGI’s Jeff Rathke and Peter Rashish discuss with Dr. Jakob von Weizsäcker, chief economist at the German Ministry of Finance, the prospects for German climate policy after the federal election. What transatlantic and broader international cooperation are necessary to reduce carbon emissions on a global scale while avoiding trade frictions linked to competing green tariffs such as a carbon border adjustment mechanism? How can like-minded countries join to construct an effective “climate club?” Beyond climate, can we glimpse the future of the EU’s economic policy from its NextGen EU initiative? And should the world be worried about a new round of inflationary pressures?


Jeff Rathke, President, AGI


Peter Rashish, Senior Fellow; Director, Geoeconomics Program, AGI
Jakob von Weizsäcker, Chief Economist Director General for Economic and Fiscal Policy and Global Economy, German Federal Ministry of Finance

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.