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EU Fiscal Agreement Sparks Disagreement Between France and Germany Over Investment Expenditure

EU finance ministers continue to debate new fiscal rules in Brussels, edging toward agreement after an eight-hour discussion, but further negotiations are necessary. The aim is to balance debt reduction with investments in sustainability and defense. While France and Germany disagree on investments amid high deficits, support is divided among other nations. France's Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, is optimistic about finalizing the rules by year-end.
The COVID-19 pandemic and climate emergencies have rendered the current fiscal framework, limiting government debt to 60% of GDP and deficits to 3%, obsolete. The proposed reforms suggest flexible debt reduction timelines and investment incentives, addressing both high public debt and climate change investments.

Diplomats highlight the urgency as the European Parliament's current term ends in April, with European elections in June. Nonetheless, any December agreement is expected to have minimal impact on 2024's fiscal plans, which follow existing guidelines. However, establishing credible EU fiscal coordination remains crucial for market stability and supporting the European Central Bank's inflation efforts.
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