German finance minister hospitalised, misses key EU meet

9th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble laid out Berlin's negotiating position for crisis euro talks from a Brussels hospital after being taken ill, his last-minute replacement said on Sunday.

Wheelchair-bound Schaeuble, 67, suffered an allergic reaction to medicine he had taken for the first time and was taken for treatment shortly after his early-afternoon arrival in the Belgian capital.

A German government source said he would spend the night in care, after spokesman Michael Offer said he was "doing well under the circumstances" and "understands what is being said to him."

Schaeuble, a paraplegic as a result of a 1990 attack by a mentally disturbed man who fired three shots at him, spent weeks in and out of hospital earlier this year, after scars from an operation failed to heal properly.

He was replaced at the finance ministers' talks by German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere, who travelled to Brussels at short notice, reaching the venue just after 8:00 pm (1800 GMT).

On arrival, de Maiziere said the hospitalised Scheauble was well enough to brief him on the German line for the talks.

"I am in contact with Wolfgang Schaeuble. He's doing well and gave me the nogotiating plan," he said.

Schaeuble's hospitalisation came shortly before exit polls suggested that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition was headed for a bruising defeat in a key regional election.

The loss was set to cost Merkel's coalition its majority in the upper house, amid voter anger over a EU-IMF bailout for debt-stricken Greece.

© 2010 AFP

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