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Germany

German Stability Pact Suggestion Slammed

A top official of the European Commission in Brussels rejected Thursday proposals by the German government to alter the way public deficits are calculated under the EU's Stability and Growth Pact so as not to take into account certain areas of public spending. "Any proposition aimed at not including specific categories of expenditure is not proper," the director general for economic and financial affairs in Brussels, Klaus Regling, told the Financial Times Deutschland in an interview. Regling, who answers directly to the EU's economic and monetary affairs commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, said that if such proposals were adopted, it would mean that countries could put on a show of getting their finances in order, while effectively being allowed to continue to build up deficits. "That would be diametrically opposed to the aim of the stability pact, which is to prevent a member state from becoming over-indebted," Regling said. In the debate over a reform of the stability pact, which limits euro-zone members' deficits to 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), Germany has suggested that a country's net contribution to the EU not be included in the calculation of the deficit.

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