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France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire (left) and German Finance Minister Christian Lindner (right) during a cabinet meeting in Berlin (archive photo)


Germany and France have reached an agreement in the dispute over the reform of the European debt rules. There is a "100 percent" agreement, said France's Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. He announced this after a meeting with Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) in Paris on the online service X, formerly known as Twitter. Lindner wrote in English at X that he and Le Maire agreed on "key elements" of the so-called economic governance framework.

Time is of the essence: On Wednesday, all 27 EU finance ministers want to agree on the long-planned reform of the Stability and Growth Pact, if possible, for which a video conference has been scheduled. So far, however, there has been no agreement in principle between Germany and France. After a night meeting in Brussels a good ten days ago, Lindner spoke of "92 percent agreement", Le Maire put it at 95 percent.

Finally, on Tuesday evening, Lindner wrote to X of a "chance for a political agreement" at the meeting on Wednesday. The agreement between Germany and France is "excellent news for Europe, which will make it possible to ensure sound public finances and investment in the future," Le Maire said.

The EU had suspended its debt rules during the corona pandemic in order to enable the countries to receive billions in aid for the economy. Lindner said that if member states reach an agreement this year, the reform could very likely be legally sealed before the European elections in early June. "That would be a great success for the European Union as a whole," Lindner said.

According to Lindner, the last points were still open before the Paris meeting. Germany wants "safety lines so that every year there is progress in reducing the deficit and reducing the debt ratio."

In the reform, the so-called Maastricht criteria are to remain unchanged: an annual new debt of no more than three percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and a total debt of no more than 60 percent for each state.