German govt, opposition reach deal on fiscal pact

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by Laura Matovina

BERLIN (AP) -- German opposition leaders say they've reached a deal with Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition that will allow them to ratify Europe's budget discipline pact.

Merkel needs opposition support to secure the needed two-thirds majority in Parliament for the pact.

The opposition Social Democrats -- who have pushed for more of a focus on encouraging growth -- said after a meeting with government leaders Thursday that they secured an agreement that includes a commitment to push for a financial transaction tax, even if not all European Union countries go along with it. It also foresees, among other things, investments from existing EU funds to foster growth.

But the government blocked opposition calls for a European debt redemption fund that would see part of eurozone countries' debt load pooled.

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