German minister delays 2024 budget plans as coalition squabbles

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FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Christian Lindner attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany March 1, 2023. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi/File Photo

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BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany’s finance minister has delayed presenting his budget for next year, a state secretary in his ministry said on Thursday, as differences within the three-way ruling coalition show no sign of abating.

Christian Lindner, head of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), had been due to unveil his plans for Europe’s biggest economy on Wednesday. He was also due to outline financial planning through to 2027.

“The additional risks, for example due to rising interest rates and the current collective bargaining round (on wages), are increasing,” said State Secretary Florian Toncar.

“At the same time, the spending wishes of many ministries are still clearly too high or there is a lack of savings elsewhere to be able to set new priorities,” he added.

Germany’s DPA news agency and the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily first reported the delay, saying that Lindner had told Social Democrat Chancellor Olaf Scholz that he would not be ready on Wednesday.

“We will have to talk in cabinet about financial realities again,” Lindner told DPA, giving no new date.

The three-way coalition, which also includes the environmentalist Greens, has been at odds over several issues. Last month, Lindner said he considered the budget demands made by his coalition partners to be excessive.

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