GERMANY BUDGET

German Finance Minister Hans Eichel listens during a debate of the German lower house of parliament Bundestag in Berlin September 9, 2003. Speaking in a parliamentary debate on the 2004 federal budget, Eichel said an assumption of two percent growth for the German economy would be difficult to achieve, and defended plans to bring forward tax cuts worth 15.6 billion euros to 2004. Eichel acknowledged the risks and used his speech to appeal to the opposition to use its majority in the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament, to adopt measure the government has proposed to help Germany respect EU rules on borrowing. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann REUTERS