May 31, 2020 / 9:37 AM / 2 months ago

German economic stimulus plan could be worth 75 billion-80 billion - paper

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany is working on a stimulus package worth 75 billion-80 billion euros (67.26 billion pounds-72.12 billion pounds) to support economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic, weekly Bild am Sonntag reported.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition would stump up more than 60 billion euros, while the country’s regional states would shoulder the rest, the paper reported.

The government was not immediately available for comment.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz from the co-governing Social Democrats (SPD) and Economy Minister Peter Altmaier from Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) are expected to present the stimulus programme next week.

The scheme could include tax cuts, cash handouts to families, additional funds for small companies, debt relief for municipalities and subsidies for the car industry, according to proposals from various policy makers.

Europe’s largest economy is expected to plunge into its steepest recession since World War Two. The new fiscal stimulus package comes on top of a 750 billion-euro rescue package agreed in March.

Wolfgang Schaeuble, president of the German parliament, on Sunday called for the stimulus plan to focus on climate policy, digitization and innovation.

“It is crucial not just to announce large sums of money, but to do the right thing”, he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS).

“Some people think that climate policy must now take a back seat. But that cannot be seriously advocated,” he said, adding that cash incentives for new cars would be “unimaginative”.

He echoed comments from some industry groups which have spoken out against bonuses for new cars, after France introduced such a scheme.

The president of the VDMA association of German engineering firms, Carl Martin Welcker, told FAS: “Purchase premiums for cars and comparable individual subsidies discriminate against other products and generate windfall profits.”

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Susan Fenton

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