Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is planning to unveil an economic rescue package worth 822 billion euros — the biggest in Germany’s post-war history — to fund the country’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic, according to a draft bill seen by AFP Saturday.
To finance the extraordinary measures ranging from partial nationalisations to credit guarantees to salary top-ups for workers forced into part-time, the government will also shed its debt-averse attitude.
Not only will Merkel’s government drop its dogma of keeping the budget balanced, but it will also go a step further to seek permission from parliament to raise the legal limit on its annual borrowings.
Merkel’s government will seek to borrow 156 billion euros for 2020, a sum that exceeds a constitutional limit by 100 billion euros.
Faced with the coronavirus pandemic which has brought all travel to a standstill, forced employees into working shorter hours and left most shops shut, Merkel has vowed that Germany will do whatever it takes to preserve its economy.
“We will do what we can to get through this situation well, and we will see at the end of that where our budget stands,” she had said last week, stressing that ending the virus crisis “comes first”.