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Business

German Euro-Burden Lightens

Germany no longer shoulders the huge share of the European Union's budget it once did, according to a financial expert from the Greens, one of the party's in Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's coalition government.

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The European Central Bank in downtown Frankfurt

It once paid for a full third of the European Union's budget, but Germany has reduced its burden dramatically to 23.5 percent, says Michaele Schreyer, financial expert for the Green Party in Berlin.

Such a reduction has the potential to significantly change German citizens' attitudes toward the EU, which they have often viewed as a good force for European integration but one that costs German tax-payers disproportionately much.

Schreyer's analysis, reported by Spiegel Online, is consequential also because the Greens, once a fringe element in German politilcs, are today the junior party in government with the Social Democrats (SPD).

She says that Germany's pay-out to the EU dropped by 3 billion euro in 2000.

In 2002, as compared with payments to the EU in 1999, the year's net figure will fall by 4.6 billion euro.

By 2006, the net payment will be equivalent to 0.08 percent of gross national product, Schreyer predicted.

Her analysis and predictions backed up her message that enlargment of the European Union, an obligation dreaded by many German taxpayers, will be not be overwhelmingly expensive.

Through EU enlargement, "Germany will profit disproportionately. Along with Austria, Germany is the top winner from enlargement."

The EU may enlarge into Poland, the Czech republic and other East European countries as early as 2004.

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