Wolfgang Schäuble, German finance minister, said on Wednesday that his budget for 2014, involving spending cuts of more than €5bn to trim the total below €300bn, was “a strong signal for Europe”.
The plan means Germany will reach budget balance in 2015, a year earlier than required under the “debt brake” written into its constitution.
He described the 2014 spending plan as “growth-friendly consolidation”, intended to prove to the rest of the eurozone that “consistent sustainable budgeting and growth are not mutually exclusive”. Philipp Rösler, economy minister, said Germany’s public finances were the “envy of the world”.
Publication of the budget was deliberately brought forward by a week to bring out the figures before the EU summit, according to German officials. In spite of tough cuts for health, social security and environment, the plan was rushed through the cabinet well ahead of schedule.
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