Europe Politics

'We have a little fetish': Merkel's party plays with sexual innuendo on solid German finances

Key Points
  • The CDU made a suggestive tweet on Wednesday, using an image of the well-known "black zero" wearing an dominatrix-style hat.
  • The black zero represents the center-right party's pledge of maintaining a balanced budget and not incurring any new debt.
  • There have been widespread calls for the government to unleash fresh stimulus measures with Germany's economy only narrowly avoiding a technical recession twice this year.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Marcel Kusch | Picture Alliance | Getty Images

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."

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