Photographer: Martin Leissl/Bloomberg

Germany May Have to Thank Draghi for Its Budget Surplus

Don't tell Schaeuble who deserves the credit for his “black zero”

The “black zero” is very popular in Germany. And no, it’s not a death-metal band.

“Schwarze null” is the name generally given in the German press to the budget surplus the country achieved in 2014 and 2015, without the need to take on new debt. Such fiscal restraint is a reason for pride in Germany and is compared favorably with the perceived reckless debt-taking of southern European countries.

Still, a new study argues that Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble owes much of this success to the low-rate policy of European Central Bank President Mario Draghi — the same policy Schaeuble criticized in April for robbing German pensioners of their savings and contributing to the rise of right-wing populists.

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