German economy crisis: Angela Merkel forces Berlin into more debt than ever before

Germany: Coronavirus deaths surpass 40,000 says Wieler

Official figures show the German government incurred £115.5billion (€130.5billion) worth of debt in 2020 – three times higher than the previous record. The shocking figures overseen by German Chancellor Angela Merkel are more than £70billion (€79billion) higher than the debt incurred in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash.

The previous record high for national debt in Europe’s largest economy was £39billion (€44billion) in 2010.

The global coronavirus crisis forced the Federal Ministry of Finance to roll-out an unprecedented amount of loans and grants to firms and citizens.

Finance Minister Olaf Scholz was, however, upbeat about for figures amid fears the numbers could have been much worse.

They showed tax revenues were above expectations, while expenses for coronavirus support packages and social security were lower.

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National debt also remained below the credit line of £193billion (€218billion) permitted by the Bundestag.

Mr Scholz said: “Our resolute aid policy is working.

“We spent a lot of money on health protection, economic support and job security.”

The finance chief added: “Despite the pandemic, we have our finances under control.

“We have the strength to continue to take massive action against the coronavirus crisis, and that is exactly what we are doing.”

But, with the coronavirus crisis ongoing throughout Europe, levels of national debt could yet be exceeded once again.

In the upcoming budget, a new debt of £159billion (€180billion) is being planned by ministers.

The fiscal package would provide around £35billion (€40billion) for corporate aid and an additional £31billion (€35billion) in emergency reserve funds.

On Tuesday, Ms Merkel confirmed the nationwide lockdown would be extended by another two weeks.

Most shops and schools will now remain closed until at least February 14.

The German Chancellor said: “Now is the time to take preventive measures against the threat of this virus.”

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In the latest 24-hour period, Germany recorded 15,974 new positive cases of coronavirus and 1,148 confirmed deaths.

Data from Robert Koch Institute (RKI) show 2,068,002 people have tested positive for the virus and 48,770 people have died since the start of the pandemic.

(Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg)

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