• 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
German populist party in race row over Boateng remarks
Boateng, who has a Ghanaian father, was born and brought up in Berlin. Photo: DPA

A leading member of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party sparked outrage Sunday after making racist remarks about national football team defender Jerome Boateng.

Dozens hit by lightning strike in west Germany
Witnesses to the lightning strike said it came out of the blue. Photo: DPA

35 people were injured in the west German village of Hoppstädten when lightning struck the pitch at the end of a children's football match.

Dresden 'most woman-friendly’ city in Germany
Photo: DPA.

Sorry Berlin, you're not the most progressive city for women, according to a new report.

The future belongs to these 10 German regions
This east German city won the 'most improved' category. Photo: DPA

A new study shows that one city above all will dominate the future of Germany, but if you're canny you might still want to think about moving to Leipzig or Erfurt.

Fugitive ex-terrorists 'on huge crime spree' in north Germany
(L-r): ex-RAF members Volker Staub, Daniela Klette, and Burkhard Garweg. Photo: BKA

In their struggle against capitalism they once murdered businessmen and politicians. Now three ex-terrorists have taken to robbing supermarkets - and rather successfully, too.

Scooter singer finally reveals how much the fish cost
H.P. Baxxter. Photo: DPA

It is the question Germans have wanted to know the answer to for almost two decades - and now they have the answer, thanks to a US talkshow host.

'I'm definitely not a paedophile': disgraced MP
Former MP Sebastian Edathy is in hiding after a child pornography scandal destroyed his career. Photo: DPA

Former MP Sebastian Edathy quit his job and left Germany after videos of naked children were found on his computer.

Weekend promises storms, humidity - and a bit of sun
A storm in Cuxhaven last weekend. Photo: DPA

The forecast for the coming days isn’t the pristine blue skies many of us are longing for. But, in among the storms, the sun will still peek out.

Prosecutors take aim at unedited Hitler book
An original edition of 'Mein Kampf' featuring a photo of Hitler on an inside cover. Photo: DPA

German prosecutors said on Thursday they were investigating whether to bring charges against a publisher who has promised to print a version of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic manifesto "Mein Kampf" without annotations.

VW bets on battery factory for electric car dominance
A VW logo is seen in front of a plugged-in electric car. Photo: DPA

Scandal-hit car giant Volkswagen is set to sink huge sums into building a factory for batteries to power its future electric cars, German media reported on Friday.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,831
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd