Germany took on 24.8 bln less debt than planned last year -finance minister

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BERLIN, Jan 14 (Reuters) – Germany borrowed less money on the markets last year than initially planned, with the federal government undershooting the allowed 240 billion euros debt ceiling by 24.8 billion euros, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Friday.

“So we’re doing what’s necessary, but not exhausting what’s possible,” Lindner told lawmakers in parliament.

Germany still took on record new debt of some 215 billion euros last year following an unprecedented borrowing of 130 billion euros in 2020 to finance measures in the coronavirus pandemic.

Lindner is the leader of the fiscally cautious Free Democrats (FDP), part of a ruling coalition led by the centre-left Social Democrats and also including the Greens.

He said the government would have to create fiscal buffers over the coming years to be prepared for the next crisis, and reiterated the coalition’s plan to return from 2023 to strict borrowing limits, a constitutional rule known as the debt break.

In the years that follow, the debt-to-output ratio should be reduced gradually, Linder said, adding that the government wanted to reduce the tax burden for citizens and companies.

“There will be no tax increases,” Lindner said. (Reporting by Christian Kraemer Writing by Michael Nienaber Editing by Peter Graff)