© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: German Finance Minister Christian Lindner speaks as he presents the 2024 budget with Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck in Berlin, Germany, December 13, 2023. REUTERS/Liesa Johannssen/File Photo
By Christian Kraemer
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Finance Minister Christian Lindner and his French counterpart Minister Bruno Le Maire will meet in Paris on Tuesday to try to reach an agreement on the reform of EU fiscal rules, German finance ministry sources said.
France and Germany are at odds on how to sustain investment when budget deficits exceed EU limits, and other countries, roughly in two camps behind Paris and Berlin, are wrangling over other issues, including the minimum pace of debt reduction.
“It is important for both ministers to reach an agreement before the end of this year,” German finance ministry sources said.
The aim of the meeting is to help stalled negotiations on the reform of the fiscal rules, known as the European Stability and Growth Pact, which underpin the euro currency by setting limits on government debt at 60% of GDP and for deficits at 3%.
The main issue left to agree between Paris and Berlin is how quickly a country with a deficit above the EU limit of 3% of GDP should reduce it while having enough money to invest and reform.
France wants countries to be able to move at a slower pace to retain more cash for investment while Germany wants a faster reduction of debt.
EU finance ministers are expected to meet online on Wednesday with the aim of agreeing a joint position that would then be negotiated with the European Parliament early in 2024.