merkel policies in focus in final debate on draft german budget
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Merkel policies in focus in final debate on draft German budget

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Arab Today, arab today Merkel policies in focus in final debate on draft German budget

Angela Merkel
Berlin - DPA

The policies of Angela Merkel's centre-right government will be in focus in the Bundestag on Wednesday, the final day of debate on the 2019 draft budget, traditionally a chance for the opposition to ask tough questions of the German chancellor.

The session will also be notable for being the first time Merkel speaks in parliament since announcing her decision to not seek re-election as head of her party at the Christian Democrats' (CDU) conference in Hamburg next month.

Among topics expected to come up is the government's intention to back the UN migration pact. Several EU countries have vowed not to sign the agreement.

The budget provides for spending totalling 356.4 billion euros (405.9 billion dollars), almost 13 billion euros more than in the current year and a record high.

Merkel's broad coalition government, comprising the CDU, its Bavarian sister party CSU and the Social Democrats (SPD), aims to boost spending on defence, development aid and social affairs.

It has proposed reductions in health insurance contributions and a rise in pension payments, along with benefits for families, amounting to 9.8 billion euros in total. It also wants to make changes to tax brackets to compensate for inflation.

The government is also planning to create thousands of new jobs in the security sector and the customs department.

Opposition parties have charged that Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had only just managed to present a budget with no new net borrowing for the sixth year in a row and that economic growth was set to decline after years of low interest and stable growth.

Peter Boehringer of the opposition far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), who chairs the Bundestag's budgetary committee, has charged that the government is trying to use tricks and had omitted certain items to balance the books.

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