German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble presented his 2017 election-year budget as an anchor of stability in unsettling times, pledging to uphold fiscal restraint while saying Europe’s biggest economy is in its best shape ever.
In a speech to parliament starting off a week-long budget debate, Schaeuble cited data showing unemployment at a 25-year low, years of rising wages, stable prices and steady economic growth. Germany will lower its national debt by 2020 to 60 percent of gross domestic product, the limit set by euro-area rules, he said.
“We’re prudently only going to spend as much as we have,” Schaeuble told lawmakers, pointing to plans by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to avoid net new borrowing through 2020. Germany’s “fiscal and budget policy stands for stability and reliability,” he said.