German Coalition Reaches Breakthrough on 2025 Budget, Financial Plan

A German flag blows in the wind in front of a stack of containers at the harbour in Hamburg, Germany, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
A German flag blows in the wind in front of a stack of containers at the harbour in Hamburg, Germany, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
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German Coalition Reaches Breakthrough on 2025 Budget, Financial Plan

A German flag blows in the wind in front of a stack of containers at the harbour in Hamburg, Germany, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights
A German flag blows in the wind in front of a stack of containers at the harbour in Hamburg, Germany, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer/File Photo Purchase Licensing Rights

The leaders of Germany's three-party coalition on Friday achieved a breakthrough in negotiations on the national budget for 2025, dpa has learnt from government sources.

The coalition leaders have also reached a preliminary deal on a financial plan to secure additional economic growth of more than 0.5% - worth an estimated €26 million ($28 million) - in the coming year.

Sources told dpa that the coalition plans to stick with strict rules against budget deficits, known as the debt brake, banking on a significant increase in economic output to overcome shortfalls in government spending.

The breakthrough comes after weeks of negotiations between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Robert Habeck of the Greens and Finance Minister Christian Lindner of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP).

The key sticking point has been a €10 billion deficit in government expenditure, with Lindner's FDP refusing to sideline the debt brake to allow for additional borrowing and investments, and the SPD ruling out any cuts to welfare spending.

Sources told dpa that the new deal includes a supplementary budget totalling €11 billion to overcome lower-than-expected tax revenues and higher government spending.



New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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New Legislation Facilitates Investment in Saudi Tourism Sector

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khatib said, in an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, that work is underway on new regulations and legislation that will facilitate the investment process in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a major transformation in the tourism sector after it enacted and developed a number of regulations and launched mega projects that allowed the country to attract more than 100 million visitors last year, the target initially set for 2030.
During a press conference on Wednesday at the Abu Faraj heritage palaces in Al-Aziza, west of the city of Abha in the southern Aseer region, Al-Khatib revealed the ministry’s moves to provide appropriate long-term funding at a competitive cost in order to encourage investment in the Saudi tourism system.
In his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, the minister pointed to the most prominent achievements in the sector, revealing that the Kingdom received 60 million visitors during the first half of 2024, with spending amounting to SAR 143 billion ($38.1 billion), recording about 10 percent growth in the number of tourists and spending.
He added that by the end of the first half of this year, the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product had reached 5 percent, and was moving steadily toward achieving 10 percent, which is equivalent to SAR 600-700 billion of tourism income.
Moreover, Al-Khatib also spoke about the launch of the Bachelor of International Hospitality Management program, a partnership between the Ministry of Tourism, King Khalid University, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
He noted that a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Tourism and the Colleges of Excellence Company, with the aim of developing human capabilities and expanding international specialized technical colleges and strategic partnership institutes in the field of tourism and hospitality.
Al-Khateeb said 10,000 training opportunities both inside and outside the Kingdom would be allocated to those working in the Aseer region’s tourism sector.
The National Tourism Strategy aims to reach over 150 million local and international tourists by 2030. In 2023, it reached 109 million.
The minister added: “The Tourism Development Fund plays an important role in providing financing, allocating SAR 7.4 billion to enable over 100 tourism projects around the Kingdom with a value exceeding SAR 35 billion.”
He pointed out that the fund financed 10 major projects in the Aseer region, ranging from international hotels to multi-use projects with a value exceeding one billion riyals. International hotel brands included: InterContinental Residence in Abha, DoubleTree in Khamis Mushait Governorate, and Khayal Walk Boulevard.