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Germany

Berlin to Tap Nursing Care Insurance?

After rejecting the idea of tapping Deutsche Telekom and Deutsche Post for billions of euros to help bring the German public deficit back within EU limits, Berlin is now considering dipping into the financial reserves of the mandatory state nursing care insurance fund, Die Welt said on Wednesday, without revealing its sources. From its cash pile of €3.3 billion ($4.2 billion), the nursing care insurance fund would make available an interest-free loan to the state-run health insurers who would use the cash to cut their debt and lower their premiums, the paper said. The health insurers' debt is included in the public budget, while the financial surplus of the nursing care insurance fund is not. Finance Minister Hans Eichel is seeking ways of ensuring that the German public deficit next year falls back below 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) as required by the European Stability and Growth Pact. (AFP)

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