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Germany’s Lindner pushes back on new EU debt as response to Ukraine war

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner has pushed back on calls for the EU to issue new joint debt to fund boosts in defense and energy spending as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Asked about Lindner’s position today, a ministry spokesperson referred to comments the minister made on Monday at a joint press conference with Dutch Finance Minister Sigrid Kaag.

“We support Ukraine. There is also a joint European effort to continue to support Ukraine. But that is independent of a debate on financing instruments. Joint liability in Europe through the issuance of joint bonds is not on the agenda at the moment,” Lindner said.

Multiple media outlets, including Bloomberg and Le Monde, reported that the EU was in discussions about a major new fund, to be established as a response to the war and financed by joint debt.

Bloomberg said the EU would unveil a plan to borrow “on a potentially massive scale to finance energy and defense spending.” Le Monde said the fund would cushion the blowback from sanctions on EU economies and help EU members diversify energy supply. It said France also supported using the fund for defense spending.

POLITICO reported last week that the EU was considering a range of measures to deal with the economic impact of the war. Such measures could include repurposing of existing loans, fresh debt to raise money for loans in case of energy price spikes, and new guidance on fast-track approval of state subsidies, officials and diplomats said.

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