German ministers fall out over EMU

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The fall-out over Germany's difficulties in meeting the criteria for joining the European single currency intensified yesterday when German economics minister Guenter Rexrodt criticised finance minister Theo Waigel in a row over economic forecasts.

Mr Waigel, in an interview with the weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, had said other government departments had botched economic forecasts and left him searching for billions of marks to cut Bonn's deficit to meet the convergence criteria for monetary union. But Mr Rexrodt said responsibility for the forecasts was shared widely.

In a statement on official ministry paper, Mr Rexrodt retorted: "It is always the Finance Ministry which presses for a more favourable economic forecast." The German government has been examining ways of raising extra cash in its next budget to qualify for EMU membership.