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German Bundestag approves budget for next fiscal year

Germany's federal budget for the coming year has been approved by a clear majority in the Bundestag. Despite the ongoing refugee crisis, the country is not planning to take on new debt.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called on Friday for stable economic and financial policies for 2016, as the Bundestag wrapped up discussions concerning the coming year's federal budget.

"We'll only be able to solve major challenges if we carry out a solid fiscal policy," Schäuble told the Bundestag.

"Our number one priority in our budget is: Education, research, innovation," Schäuble said, also mentioning the infrastructure investments would be "signigicantly increased."

The proposed budget for 2016, which amounts to 316.9 billion euros ($335.3 billion), passed with a clear majority of 466-114.

Auditors warn of risks

In spite of the ongoing refugee crisis, Germany, for the third year in a row, will not take on new debt, thanks to the country's strong economy and low interest rates.

The announcement was made despite warnings from Germany watchdog the Bundesrechnungshof (Supreme Audit Institution), which criticized a draft of the bill for relying too heavily on rising revenues and the aforementioned low interest rates.

The 2016 budget includes roughly eight billion euros in expenditures for refugees, which covers administrative as well as security costs.

blc/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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