German parliament approves 2008 national budget
30 November 2007, Berlin - The German parliament Friday approved a national budget of 283.2 billion euros (417.4 billion dollars) for 2008, an increase of 4 per cent from 2007.
30 November 2007
Berlin - The German parliament Friday approved a national budget of 283.2 billion euros (417.4 billion dollars) for 2008, an increase of 4 per cent from 2007.
Deputies voted 408-144 in favour of the budget, which envisages new debt of 11.9 billion euros and a slight increase in outlays for defence and economic assistance.
The biggest slice of the budget - 124.04 billion euros - is earmarked for labour and social affairs, while the smallest amount of 470 million euros goes to the Ministry of Justice.
Defence spending accounts for 29.45 billion euros, a slight increase from 28.39 billion euros in 2007. Transport and construction, the third biggest item in the budget, was pegged at 24.39 billion euros.
The Ministry for Economic Assistance, which is responsible for the distribution of Germany's overseas development aid, sees its share of budget funds increase from 4.5 billion to 5.13 billion euros.
During the final day of the four-day debate, Economics Minister Michael Glos appealed to the United States to slow down the slide in the dollar as European exporters come under growing exchange-rate pressure.
Glos said Washington should not try to fix structural problems in the US economy by devaluing the dollar.
"Not even that economy will benefit in the long term if the dollar is allowed to fall too far," he said.
"If the resulting economic boom is not underpinned by structural adjustment in the US economy itself and what is achieved is purely the result of a weak currency, then they will have gotten a bad deal," he said.
The US economy's problems were the high current-accounts deficit and public spending deficit, he said. The US were partly responding to the turmoil in world financial markets by letting the dollar slide and pushing the euro higher.
Earlier, Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck said he did expect the German economy to suffer too much from the current credit squeeze triggered by the US housing market crisis.
He told the Financial Times newspaper he expected the German economy to perform well next year even if at a slower growth than 2007.
He said domestic demand was picking up and exports would remain brisk, with demand from Russia, Eastern Europe and Asia offsetting a slowdown in the US.
Referring to the strength of the euro against the dollar, he acknowledged it would have an effect on Germany, but said the stronger currency would curb the impact of higher oil prices.
"For us Europeans, we prefer a stronger euro than a weak euro," he told the newspaper.
Subject: German news