Ukraine crisis threatens German budget

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Wolfgang Schaeuble1 Reuters. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Berlin - German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned Tuesday that turmoil in Ukraine could threaten Berlin's bid to produce a balanced budget next year.

Schaeuble told the daily Bild that he “cannot give a guarantee” that Germany will spend no more than its revenue intake in its budget next year, as he forecast in March.

“No one knows, for example, how things will go in Ukraine,” he said.

But he said “the odds are good” for a balanced budget “and we will do everything we can to make sure that happens,” said Schaeuble, who has held the strings of Germany's public purse since 2009.

Germany, like much of the rest of the European Union, is heavily dependent on Russian energy and gas but has threatened to impose economic sanctions on Moscow if it further violates Ukraine's borders following its annexation of the Crimean peninsula last month.

Schaeuble is to formally present plans to parliament on Tuesday to achieve a consistently balanced budget from 2015, the first time since 1969.

Europe's top economy will run up only a small public deficit of 6.5 billion euros ($8.9 billion) in 2014 - its smallest in 40 years - down from 22.1 billion euros in 2013, Schaeuble announced last month. - Sapa-AFP

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