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BERLIN (Reuters) - New German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday the incoming government of Chancellor Angela Merkel would work hard to enable income tax cuts planned for 2011, but they could not be guaranteed.
"You can rely on the fact that the coalition has the firm aim to make this happen," Schaeuble, the veteran conservative whom Merkel tapped to tackle Germany's budget deficit, told state broadcaster ARD. "If possible, on January 1, 2011."
However, he said it was impossible to know how the economic crisis would develop and whether the new government could definitely carry out its plans to cut income taxes by 24 billion euros (22 billion pounds) from 2011.
"We are pursuing a bit of a wait-and-see policy," he said.
Before the federal election in September, Schaeuble had criticised Merkel's promise to pursue large tax cuts, saying there was little room for them given the strained finances of Europe's largest economy.
On Sunday, he said he thought the new coalition's tax relief concept was "economically right."
Merkel signed a coalition deal with the business-friendly Free Democrats (FDP) on Saturday, promising tax relief in order to boost growth following Germany's worst post-war recession. The new government will be sworn in on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Sarah Marsh; editing by Myra MacDonald)

Reuters