Bundestag passes debt-free budget for 2015

Bundestag passes debt-free budget for 2015
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble fulfills a promise. Photo: DPA
Germany signed off Friday on its 2015 draft budget, which foresees a balanced bottom line for the country's public finances for the first time since 1969.

Lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve the budget blueprint for next year which will entail no new debt, a first in 46 years.

The move was a campaign pledge by conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel in last year's general election.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on public radio Deutschlandfunk that Germany was living up to its responsibility for future generations and contributing to sustainable growth.

He later said during a debate in parliament that agreeing on balanced budgets with no new debt was also a "commitment for the future".

Opposition parties and some economists have criticised Berlin's drive to achieve the 2015 balanced budget, claiming it makes no economic sense and has a restraining effect on growth and investment.

The level of debt already held by Europe's top economy, however, exceeds EU rules which lay out a ceiling of 60-percent of gross domestic product.

A survey conducted by public broadcaster ZDF showed that around two-thirds (66 percent) of respondents were in favour of the plan. 

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