Germany to slash borrowing, balance budget by 2016

By Juergen Baetz

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 16 2012 10:10 a.m. MDT

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble looks at Euro bills worth one million, seized by German customs during a joined press conference at the interior ministry in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 16, 2012. Germany's finance minister is dismissing media reports that Chancellor Angela Merkel is lobbying across Europe for him to become the new head of the eurozone's finance minister gatherings.

Michael Sohn, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

BERLIN — Germany's government says it is speeding up its plans to cut its borrowing as it works to balance its budget by 2016.

A senior official said Friday that the federal government will reduce its new borrowing between 2013 and 2016 to €45.6 billion ($59.5 billion) from the previously planned €73 billion.

A robust economy has helped increase Germany's tax intake, allowing the country to run up less new debt. Germany plans to balance its budget in 2016, when it expects to borrow only €1.1 billion.

Germany has pushed hard for the other 16 countries that use the euro as their currency to get their public finances in order as the continent recovers from the debt crisis.

The official briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because the plan hasn't officially been released.

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