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Germany

Germany Stands Firm in EU Budget

Germany is facing tough economic times and has little room to compromise in a battle over the size of the European Union budget for 2007-2013, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said in Lisbon Monday. "This is not a political position. The figures are quite clear that we have serious budget problems and our possibilities are very limited," he said following talks with his Portuguese counterpart Diogo Freitas do Amaral. "For us it is crucial to keep the limit of one percent (of the EU's gross national income, or GNI)," he added. "It is a very complicated situation but we must try to move forward together." European Union leaders will try to ink a deal over the budget when they meet at a summit in Brussels on June 16-17. Germany, the biggest contributor to the EU's budget, is struggling to bring its public finances within EU limits. It is one of six nations, all of them net contributors to the budget, that are demanding that total spending by the bloc be limited to one percent of its GNI.