German coalition parties agree 130 bln euro stimulus packageReuters | Berlin | Updated: 04-06-2020 03:09 IST | Created: 04-06-2020 03:06 IST
Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition on Wednesday agreed a bumper stimulus package to speed up Germany's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, overcoming differences on incentives to buy new cars and relief for highly indebted municipalities.
Speaking at a news conference after marathon talks that extended well into the night, Merkel said the package would amount to 130 billion euros ($146.02 billion) and include lower value-added tax (VAT) to boost consumption. "The size of the package will amount to 130 billion euros for the years 2020/2021, 120 billion of which will be spent by the federal government," Merkel said. "So we have an economic stimulus package, a package for the future."
The stimulus program follows a 750 billion-euro rescue package agreed in March which encompassed a debt-financed supplementary budget of 156 billion euros. Germany's measures, which together with liquidity aid and loan guarantees equal more than 30% of its economic output, go substantially beyond any other national emergency programs launched by other eurozone countries.
Merkel said VAT will be reduced from 19% to 16% for six months starting on July 1. A lower VAT rate for hospitality of 7% would be lowered by two points over the same period. The package also includes at least 10 billion euros a year to help municipalities struggling with lower tax receipts with public spending on infrastructure and housing.
The sheer scale of Germany's new spending splurge has raised concerns among officials from economically weaker countries that the discrepancy in aid measures could worsen imbalances in the bloc and distort the European Union's single market. The measures also include a one-time, 300-euro stipend per child to help families as well as a doubling of incentives to promote the sale of electric cars.
($1 = 0.8903 euros)