The German Finance Ministry denied that minister Peer Steinbrueck threatened to resign over a disagreement about government spending.
The ministry issued a statement to clarify Steinbrueck's comments in an interview with the Leipziger Volkszeitung newspaper published today, in which he appeared to link his job to spending restraint and continued budget consolidation.
Reading the entire article ``makes it clear that he hasn't done that even with one syllable,'' ministry spokesman Torsten Albig said in the e-mailed statement. Media reports suggesting Steinbrueck had threatened to resign are ``absurd,'' he said.
The clarification reflects the difficulties Steinbrueck is facing in defending his budget plans against calls to loosen spending restrictions.
Steinbrueck told Leipziger Volkszeitung the policy of deficit reduction mustn't be altered ``by any means.'' A return to a policy of free-spending and a redistribution of wealth ``isn't going to happen with me,'' he was quoted as saying.
Albig said the comment should be understood to mean that Steinbrueck and Chancellor Angela Merkel together will stand in the way of any such policy changes. ( Bloomberg )