Germany: $13.1 billion surplus to be spent on refugees
Migrants and refugees walk after crossing the Macedonian border into Serbia on January 10, 2016. More than a million refugees and migrants arrived in Europe in 2015. (AFP/Armend Nimani)
Germany achieved a budget surplus of $13.1 billion in 2015, the finance ministry announced on Wednesday, with the money set to be spent on the country's migrant influx.
The surplus is attributable to economic growth and strong tax revenues and is nearly double as high as the figure predicted in November, the ministry said.
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble plans to use the surplus to help deal with the throngs of migrants reaching Germany, with 1.1 million coming in 2015 and 800,000 new arrivals predicted in 2016.
"We will urgently need this surplus to finance the extra costs associated with accommodating and integrating refugees," Schaueble said on Wednesday in Berlin. "If possible, we would also like to get through the current year without incurring fresh debt."
Germany balanced its budget for the first time in more than 40 years in 2014, meaning the country could achieve its third so-called "schwarze Null" - German for balanced budget - in 2016.
Aside from the surplus announced on Wednesday, the German government plans to devote 7.6 billion euros of public funds to the migrant influx in 2016. Some $3.6 billion will go towards its own costs, while $4.6 billion will be divided among the country's 16 federal states.
By Andre Stahl
- France, Germany urge Europe to resolve Syrian refugee crisis
- Merkel urges EU to share refugee ‘burden’ with Turkey
- EU leader calls on Europe to donate aid for counties hosting Syrian refugees
- Turkey offers to cooperate with EU on refugee crisis
- Football teams across Europe unite to welcome Syrian refugees