German government debt increases for first time since 2014

Germany’s federal government debts increased in the first half of 2019 by more than €11 billion ($12.3 billion), the Ministry of Finance announced on Tuesday, marking the first time debt has risen since 2014.

The total level of debt as of June 30 now stands at €1.081 trillion.

The increase is partly due to a reserve created in connection with Germany’s refugee crisis. At that time the reserve was created, parliament had given the federal government permission to borrow, a provision which is now being used.

The opposition has complained that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is exploiting this provision to increase debt outside the core budget for the first time since 2014.

“Anyone who still talks about a ‘black zero’ can at least read now in black and white that the federal government has long been raising debt again,” Free Democrat lawmaker Otto Fricke said on Tuesday.

Former finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble prided himself on balancing the books and not increasing debt, maintaining what he called the “black zero.”

Source: dpa

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