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Germany to bolster spending on security next year

Germany's ruling coalition has agreed on a draft budget for 2017 that foresees higher spending on security, espionage and foreign aid. More funds are also earmarked to fight the root causes of the migrant crisis.

German lawmakers said on Friday that the country planned to spend more on security, intelligence gathering and foreign aid in 2017, as part of their efforts to counter growing security threats. The decision came following an agreement between the nation's governing coalition parties, comprised of the Christian Democrats (CDU), its Bavarian affiliate Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD).

Part of the money will be used to create 4,300 new positions at Germany's police and security forces by 2020, the news agency DPA said.

The "Welt" daily reported that members of parliament's budget committee also agreed to double planned staffing for a new agency designed to break encrypted communication to 120.

An additional 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) will be spent next year on humanitarian aid and programs designed to combat the causes of migration. The sum is dwarfed by the 22 billion euros that Germany expects to spend supporting hundreds of thousands of people who claimed asylum in the country over the past year.

Many fled hardship and wars in Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.

The budget committee agreed to inject an additional 40 million euros into a program designed to help people whose asylum requests have been turned down.

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In total, the federal government plans to spend about 321.9 billion euros in 2017, 400 million euros more than the amount that had been projected this summer.

At the same time, it wants to maintain a balanced budget for the fourth consecutive year, despite the increasing financial burden on account of the migrant crisis.

The German government has benefited from the prevailing robust labor market conditions and growing tax revenues.

More foreign aid 

Furthermore, to stop growing numbers of migrants from undertaking perilous journeys to reach Europe, Chancellor Angela Merkel and her officials are pushing for greater public and private investment in Africa.

As part of this, Germany urged other developed countries on Friday to support a plan it is finalizing to bolster African economies, create jobs and slow the flow of migrants from the continent to Europe.

Development Minister Gerd Müller said Germany would in the coming weeks release details of what he called a new "Marshall Plan with Africa" - drawing a direct parallel with the huge US investment program that kick-started the ravaged German economy after World War II.

Müller said his plan was aimed at developing joint solutions with African countries, with a big focus on programs for youth, education and training and on strengthening economies and the rule of law.

Merkel raised similar issues during a visit to Africa last month, and during a meeting of the G20 industrialized countries in China.

Müller said a significant share of his ministry's proposed budget increase of over 1 billion euros for 2017 would be earmarked for projects in Africa.

Germany this week pledged a 61-million-euro ($67-million) hike in funding for UN relief operations in Africa.

sri/hg (AP, Reuters, dpa)

 

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