German federal budget surplus could reach 14 billion euros – magazine

Germany could post a budget surplus of 14 billion euros (£12.38 billion) in 2017, a magazine reported Saturday, providing more negotiating room for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc as it tries to forge a new coalition with the Free Democrats and Greens.

Solid economic growth and growing tax revenues fuelled the new projection, Der Spiegel reported.

The Finance Ministry had previously projected a flat budget, although economic institutes last month already forecast record overall government budget surpluses – which also include state governments – for coming years.

The new projection is good news for Merkel’s conservatives, the pro-business Free Democrats and the environmental Greens, whose combined proposals would add up to some 100 billion euros in new spending over the next four years.

The three groups resigned themselves to further talks next week after making little headway on immigration and climate policy during 11 hours of talks on Thursday.

Top officials from all parties traded barbs in a series of media interviews, but Manfred Weber, a senior member of the Bavarian conservative CSU, on Friday said his party still aimed to reach agreement by the end of the year.

No comment was immediately available from the Finance Ministry, which is due to publish its next tax revenue projections in mid-November.

The surplus would allow the government to cover 7 billion in projected costs associated with a landmark nuclear waste deal and 6.7 billion euros in costs for migrants without dipping into a 20-billion-euro reserve account set up during the height of the migrant crisis in 2015.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Alison Williams)

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