March 25, 2020

German MPs to vote on historic spending measures against coronavirus

Germany's Merkel gives support for talks with Taliban

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

German Chancellor, Angela Merkel

Lawmakers on Wednesday were convening under strict distancing measures in the German parliament to vote on a historic raft of spending measures aimed at bolstering the country’s economic and medical defences against coronavirus.

Earlier, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government announced its plans to suspend Germany’s debt brake in a move expected to be passed in the Bundestag parliament.

The constitutional article limits structural net borrowing to 0.35 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Lifting it would pave the way for a record supplementary budget of 156 billion euros (or 167 billion dollars) in new debt.

However, the sum would cover both 122 billion euros in aid and an expected drop of around 33.5 billion euros in tax revenues.

READ ALSO: German chancellor Angela Merkel goes into self-isolation

The measures are set to go to the Bundesrat upper house on Friday, in an expedited legislative process aimed at providing urgent aid to families, tenants, employees, self-employed people and firms.

This, it said, had become imperative as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc on the world economy.

Wednesday’s sitting began with a 90-minute debate, with Merkel’s Deputy, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, speaking on her behalf because Merkel is in self-isolation quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus.

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