Excessive deficits must be reduced, not excused, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner said in Brussels on Friday, after talks with his EU counterparts failed to yield a breakthrough on reforming the bloc's fiscal rules.
"Excessive deficits have to be reduced, not to be excused," Lindner said, expressing his worries about the corrective arm of the fiscal rules, known as the Stability and Growth pact.
European Union finance ministers moved closer to an agreement on new EU fiscal rules early on Friday after eight straight hours of talks, but will need more time and possibly another meeting to reach a deal,
two officials close to the talks said.
Lindner said Germany and France are now 92% in agreement on EU fiscal rules, up from the 90% mentioned yesterday by the ministers of both countries. He also highlighted "a very positive atmosphere" in the talks.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Friday put the rate of agreement on the deal at 95%
"Unlike a few months ago, it is now widely accepted that we need clear safety lines for the deficits and for debt reductions," Lindner said, noting that technical work still needs to be done.
A deal on the reform of EU fiscal rules is still possible before Christmas, according to Lindner. (Reporting by Maria Martinez, Editing by Rachel More and Miranda Murray)