Berlin helping Paris dodge EU budget slap: report
Germany is helping France to draw up a pact with the European Commission on deficit reduction and structural reforms to win Brussels' approval of its 2015 budget, a report said Sunday.
The report by the Spiegel news weekly comes a day before French and German economy and finance ministers are due to meet in Berlin to discuss ways of boosting growth and investment in Europe's two biggest economies.
Paris announced last month that next year's budget deficit -- the shortfall between revenue and spending -- will hit 4.3 percent of output, far above the 3.0-percent ceiling set by the European Union for member states. The deficit is not expected to drop to that level until 2017.
The EU's executive branch has around two weeks to decide whether countries' budget submissions break the rules.
The Commission has new powers to enforce the deficit limit, and could for the first time send the budget back to Paris for changes.
Failure to reach a deal could alarm global financial markets and cause a political crisis at a time when Europe risks slipping into a triple-dip recession.
To avoid such a scenario, Berlin is helping Paris draw up a detailed roadmap, similar to an idea raised by Chancellor Angela Merkel for a binding contract between Brussels and member states, Spiegel said in its latest edition dated Monday.
German government members regard a refusal by the Commission to greenlight the French budget for next year as unthinkable, according to the weekly.
Spiegel quoted an unidentified senior government member as saying a rejection would "massively strain the German-French relationship.
"It would be depicted as if we were to blame with our austerity craze."
On Thursday, Merkel told parliament she was confident the European Union would enforce its own budget rulebook with all debt sinners -- without mentioning France by name.
© 2014 AFP