Germany, like France, to dodge EU deficit process

13th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

BERLIN, Dec 12 (AFP) - EU economic affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia has pledged to take Germany off the blacklist of countries in breach of an EU deficit limit, two German news magazines reported in their Monday issues.

BERLIN, Dec 12 (AFP) - EU economic affairs commissioner Joaquin Almunia has pledged to take Germany off the blacklist of countries in breach of an EU deficit limit, two German news magazines reported in their Monday issues.

Der Spiegel and Focus, citing German finance ministry sources, said that Almunia had confirmed to Finance Minister Hans Eichel that he considers Germany's savings package "sufficient" to get the annual public deficit under the EU limit of 3.0 percent of output.

The European Commission will take its decision on countries facing the "excessive deficit procedure" Tuesday in Strasbourg.

Der Spiegel quoted finance ministry sources as saying that the procedure against Germany would be put "on ice".

A finance ministry spokeswoman declined to confirm or deny the reports, saying only: "We are convinced by our programme. We will reach the goal we have set out of falling below the Maastricht limit next year."

Eichel said in November he expected to reach a public deficit equivalent to 2.9 percent of gross domestic product next year.

Almunia told reporters last Tuesday in Brussels that he hoped to take Germany off the danger list, after taking the same decision about France.

The two heavyweight countries are on course to breach the limit this year for the third year in a row.

But many observers doubt that the French and German public deficits will indeed fall below 3.0 percent in 2005, given weaker-than-expected economic growth.

A fourth violation could open the countries up to billions of euros in fines.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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