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German gov't approves plan for 0-borrowing budget

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for the weekly cabinet meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Wednesday, March 13, 2013. The cabinet will discuss Germany's budget for 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

BERLIN (AP) -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet has approved a draft budget plan that foresees the government getting by without new borrowing in 2015.

The draft passed Wednesday foresees a structurally balanced budget next year, with net new borrowing of €6.4 billion ($8.4 billion) — down from €17.1 billion in 2013. New borrowing is supposed to sink to zero in 2015 and in subsequent years.

Total spending is set to sink to €296.9 billion next year, a 1.7 percent decline from this year's level of €302 billion.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble says Germany is showing that economic growth and tackling deficits aren't mutually exclusive. He says the Cabinet wanted to approve the plan before this week's EU summit and send a "strong signal for Europe."