Germany to balance finances sooner than expected
Germany, Europe's powerhouse economy, said Monday it will balance its public finances sooner than expected, slashing this year's projected budget deficit to 1.5 percent from 2.5 percent.
As eurozone partners work on ever tighter austerity plans to balance their books, Germany leads the pack in the strength of its finances -- it had a 2010 deficit of 3.3 percent, just above the EU ceiling of 3.0 percent despite having spent heavily on stimulus programmes to offset the worst recession since 1945.
"The positive development this year will continue until 2015, which will allow us to balance the accounts in 2014," the ministry said in a monthly report published on its Internet site.
Germany previously aimed to balance its finances by 2016 under a law requiring the government to ensure that it does not overspend.
The public deficit -- the shortfall between revenues and spending -- includes regional state budgets along with those of municipalities and the national social security system.