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Business

German Finance Minister Expects Support

Hans Eichel, Germany's finance minister, has not spend much time thinking about how to fulfill further austerity measures proposed by the European Union Commission. Eichel said he expects finance ministers from other EU countries to oppose the measures at their meeting on Nov. 25. The commission has called on Germany to cut its public deficit to under three percent by 2005, bringing it into line with the EU's Stability and Growth Pact which underpins the euro. It also demands that Germany slash its structural deficit by 0.8 percentage points, which the government says means an additional deficit cut of at least €4 billion in 2004. A spokesman for Eichel reiterated that Germany has already worked with the commission to reduce the deficit. Further measures would inhibit economic growth, the minister believes.