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POLITICS

Ties with Russia ‘more necessary than ever’

Germany wants to work with incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin constructively and to extend a strategic partnership, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said Monday.

Ties with Russia 'more necessary than ever'
Photo: DPA

Westerwelle announced that Germany would like to cooperate with Putin “constructively and in a trusting way,” – which was the first reaction from Berlin since Putin reclaimed the Kremlin in Sunday’s election.

“Russia is and remains a centrally important partner for Germany and Europe. We therefore want to continue and deepen the strategic partnership with Russia,” he added in a written statement.

The German minister also said partnership with Russia on social and economic modernisation was in the mutual interest of Germany and Europe, as well as Russia, and “is more necessary than ever.”

Putin secured nearly 64 percent of the vote in Sunday’s election, winning back the Russian presidency which he held for two terms from 2000-2008 before his four-year stint as prime minister.

He will formally take over as president after his inauguration in May.

AFP/jcw

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POLITICS

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

Germany will reinstate its so-called debt brake in 2023 after suspending it for three years to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, sources in the finance ministry said Wednesday.

Germany plans return to debt-limit rules in 2023

The government will borrow 17.2 billion euros ($18.1 million) next year, adhering to the rule enshrined in the constitution that normally limits

Germany’s public deficit to 0.35 percent of overall annual economic output, despite new spending as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine, the sources said.

The new borrowing set out in a draft budget to be presented to the cabinet on Friday is almost 10 billion euros higher than a previous figure for 2023 announced in April.

However, “despite a considerable increase in costs, the debt brake will be respected,” one of the sources said.

Although Germany is traditionally a frugal nation, the government broke its own debt rules at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and unleashed vast financial aid to steer the economy through the crisis.

READ ALSO: Debt-averse Germany to take on new borrowings to soften pandemic blow

The government has this year unveiled a multi-billion-euro support package to help companies in Europe’s biggest economy weather the fallout from the Ukraine war and sanctions against Russia.

Berlin has also spent billions to diversify its energy supply to reduce its dependence on Russia, as well as investing heavily in plans to tackle climate change and push digital technology.

But despite the additional spending, Finance Minister Christian Lindner has maintained the aim to reinstate the debt brake in 2023.

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