Merkel challenger calls for guaranteed public investment

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Berlin

Germany should be legally bound to invest in infrastructure, the centre-left challenger to Chancellor Angela Merkel at September elections said Sunday.
Berlin “must use its money to improve public infrastructure according to binding rules,” Social Democratic Party (SPD) candidate Martin Schulz said at a campaign event in the German capital.
Schulz did not call for the lifting of the “debt brake” built into the German constitution by Merkel’s conservative government in 2009, which sets legal limits on deficits in federal and regional budgets.
Berlin has booked budget surpluses in recent years and reduced its debt levels under finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. German public spending is a hot topic at home and abroad. Trading partners have called on the government to invest more as a way of reducing its massive trade surplus—the amount its exports outweigh its imports. Countries like France or the United States argue that while Germany is happy to rake in cash from selling its goods abroad, it fails to help other economies by spending at home to contribute to economic growth.—AFP