• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Germany's big surplus to cover costs of refugees
Refugees at a canteen in Baden-Württemberg in October 2015. Photo: DPA

Germany's big surplus to cover costs of refugees

AFP/DPA/The Local · 14 Jan 2016, 11:36

Published: 14 Jan 2016 11:36 GMT+01:00

The German economy, Europe's biggest, grew by 1.7 percent in 2015, fractionally faster than in the year before, the federal statistics office Destatis said on Thursday.

That growth rate was above the average for the past ten years for the second year in a row, following on from growth of 1.3 percent in 2014.

At the same time, Destatis said that Germany notched up a surplus on its public budget equivalent to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

In concrete terms, GDP amounted to €3.027 trillion in 2015, the first time ever that it has topped the three-trillion mark, Destatis said.

Output was generated by more than 43 million people in employment, the highest level since unification in 1990, Destatis said.

Surplus cash to pay for refugees

The budget surplus – twice as big as the Finance Ministry expected in November predictions – is likely to mostly be put towards spending on refugees.

"We will urgently need the reserve to finance the additional services in accommodating and integrating the refugees," Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said in Berlin on Wednesday.

Under current plans, the federal government will spend roughly €8 billion on refugees in 2016.

That's made up of around €3.3 billion in extra federal spending on unemployment and other benefits, plus €4.3 billion for the states and municipalities.

Schäuble's spending forecasts count on around 800,000 more refugees arriving in Germany this year – significantly fewer than the 1.1 million who arrived in 2016.

But the Finance Minister insisted that "in this year [2016], too, we want to get through without any new debts if possible."

Schäuble has made achieving the so-called "Schwarze Null" (black zero – a shorthand for no new debt) the holy grail of his management of the nation's coffers over his time in office.

And he's backed by his party in refusing to consider additional spending for other purposes.

There is no "room for euphoria and new spending wishes," said Ralph Brinkhaus, deputy leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) group in the Bundestag (German parliament).

"We need every cent to cover the costs of refugees and immigration," Brinkhaus added.

Opposition politicians from the Green and Linke (Left) parties criticized Schäuble's focus on controlling debt, saying that police, schools, education, pensions and social housing were going underfunded.

'Solid and consistent growth'

"The economic situation in Germany in 2015 was characterised by solid and consistent growth," said Destatis president Dieter Sarreither.

"Almost all industrial sectors saw growth," he said.

And the increased economic activity was driven primarily by domestic demand, Sarreither continued.

Story continues below…

"Consumption was the most important growth engine in the Germany economy. Investment and foreign trade helped support the positive trend, too, but to a much smaller extent."

Private consumption was up 1.9 percent in 2015 and government spending grew by 2.8 percent.

Investment in machinery and equipment advanced by 3.6 percent.

Exports were up 5.4 percent and imports expanded by 5.7 percent.

Another key factor was the robust labour market, with more than 43 million people in employment in 2015, the highest level since unification in 1990, Destatis said.

SEE ALSO: Merkel refugee welcome 'unconstitutional': judge

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Today's headlines
Germany tightens checks of soldiers amid concerns of jihadists
Photo: DPA.

The German army are planning stricter checks of their soldiers as officials fear that jihadists could be using the armed forces as a way to train.

New train line to cut 2 hours off Berlin-Munich trips
Photo: DPA

It has been 25 years in the making, but on Wednesday the rail line that is set to mark a new era for travel between Germany's capital and its economic powerhouse went live.

AfD leader attacked and beaten in Mainz
Uwe Junge. Photo: DPA

The leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Rhineland-Palatinate was attacked on the street on Tuesday evening by a group of young men.

100 flights cancelled due to Frankfurt airport security alert
Travelers being evacuated from Terminal 1 of Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: Some 100 flights were cancelled on Wednesday at Frankfurt Airport after the major transfer hub went on alert because a woman had managed to evade security checks.

Record 125k people file suit against Canada trade deal
A leader of one of the groups opposing the trade deal stacks another box full of lawsuit documents, presented to the Constitutional Court on Wednesday. Photo: DPA.

More than 125,000 Germans have filed the largest citizen lawsuit in German history against the controversial proposed CETA trade deal between Canada and the EU.

Merkel: 'Germany will remain Germany'
Photo: DPA.

One year after Angela Merkel first declared "we can do this," leading to a huge uptick in refugees applying for asylum, the Chancellor reflected this week on her policies and the future of Germany.

Nazi beach resort ruin turned into luxury playground
Prora. Photo: DPA

One of the biggest relics left behind by the Nazis is undergoing a radical transformation on a German island, harnessing a property boom to become a luxury tourist destination.

Berlin plans to be first state to arm police with tasers
Photo: DPA.

Berlin's plans to arm police patrols with taser guns would make it the first German state to implement extensive use of the electroshock weapon.

Far-right AfD leader injured by flying frozen cake
Jörg Meuthen and a cake. Photo: DPA

The co-leader of the far-right AfD party was attacked with a cake while attending a political event on Monday. But the fact the dessert was frozen made the act "dangerous", according to the politician.

Underwater pensioner hunts boats on famed Bavarian lake
A passenger boat on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

"I love chasing the ships, and what a great feeling it is when they sound the horn!" he gleefully exclaims.

National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
7,567
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd