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Fri, Nov 21, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Germany says EU has multi-billion euro stimulus plan

AFP , BERLIN

The European Commission is planning a 130 billion euro (US$163 billion) economic stimulus program, a spokeswoman for the German economy ministry said on Wednesday.

“That represents 1 percent of gross domestic product for each member state,” she said. “For Germany, that means 25 billion euros.”

German news weekly Der Spiegel reported earlier that the commission would also set aside some of its own funds to arrive at the 130 billion euro sum.

The commission is due to present proposals to grapple with the impact of the global financial crisis next Wednesday.

Commission spokesman Johannes Laitenberger said no decision had been taken on the stimulus package.

“It is premature to talk about the size and specific orientation of the package because the preparatory work is still underway and there has not yet been a definitive political decision,” Laitenberger said.

German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm stressed that Berlin had just committed 32 billion euros over the next two years to its own economic jumpstart plan and expected that to figure in Brussels’ calculations.

“It is unimaginable that our own program would not be taken into account” by the EU Commission, he told the Financial Times Deutschland in an article to appear in yesterday’s issue.

Other member states have cried poverty amid calls for a continent-wide growth plan and the European Commission is likely to seek to redirect funds committed to other efforts to the new package.

The 15-nation eurozone confirmed last week it had fallen into recession for the first time ever, with GDP in the economies using the euro falling by 0.2 percent in the third quarter after a similar drop in the second quarter.

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