German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling conservative party might seem like the unlikely source of sexual innuendo but the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) revealed on Thursday that it "has a little fetish" — "solid finances."
Taking to Twitter on Thursday, the CDU said, according to a CNBC translation: "Yes, we have to admit, we have a little fetish: Solid finances with no new debt! That is practicing generational fairness. And the best way to invest in the future. We consider both sides. And our household shows: Pursuing both works!"
Within the tweet, the CDU had a picture of a black zero wearing an dominatrix-style hat. The "black zero" (or "schwarze Null") is widely known for being the name of the government's policy (and some see it as an obsession) of maintaining a balanced budget and not incurring any new debt.
It might not seem like everyone's idea of fun but Germany, Europe's largest economy, certainly has a long-standing penchant for fiscal prudence. The CDU has enshrined this in government policies, despite pressure from opposition parties to spend more with the country narrowly avoiding a technical recession twice this year.
The latest growth data released earlier in November showed the economy grew just 0.1% in the third quarter. Even Merkel's ally, French President Emmanuel Macron, accused Germany of having a "budget fetish" earlier this year.
Germany has maintained a budget surplus (when revenues outweigh spending) since 2014 and it registered a record budget surplus of 58 billion euros ($65 billion) in 2018.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of the CDU (though Merkel remains Germany's leader), said at a news conference in August that "the black zero, as an expression of finance policy solidity, is an indispensable principle for us."