Berlin mayor threatens to close opera house

4th December 2006, Comments 0 comments

4 December 2006, Berlin (dpa) - Berlin's mayor on Monday threatened to close one of the city's three state-funded opera houses as part of efforts to bring the German capital's crushing debt burden under control. "Berlin is not in a position to provide three opera houses with enough money so they can compete with London or Paris," said Mayor Klaus Wowereit, adding that the city only had enough money for two opera houses. Former West Berlin's "Deutsche Oper" is widely seen as the most likely victim of spendi

4 December 2006

Berlin (dpa) - Berlin's mayor on Monday threatened to close one of the city's three state-funded opera houses as part of efforts to bring the German capital's crushing debt burden under control.

"Berlin is not in a position to provide three opera houses with enough money so they can compete with London or Paris," said Mayor Klaus Wowereit, adding that the city only had enough money for two opera houses.

Former West Berlin's "Deutsche Oper" is widely seen as the most likely victim of spending cuts but observers remain convinced that Wowereit would not take the drastic step of closing an opera house.

The city still hopes the federal government will take over the historic 18th century Prussian "Staatsoper" on the central Unter den Linden boulevard.

State subsidies for Berlin's opera houses are due to be cut to 99 million euros (132 million dollars) annually by 2009 from the present 112 million euros.

The city of Berlin is de facto bankrupt with over 60 billion euros of debt public debt and Wowereit is being forced to make radical spending cuts to prevent the fiscal crisis from getting even worse.

DPA

Subject: German news

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