Shroeder dismisses claims that he 'faked flu'
14 February 2005, BERLIN-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will visit Spain on Wednesday to plead for a yes vote in a referendum on the EU constitution.
14 February 2005
BERLIN-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder will visit Spain on Wednesday to plead for a yes vote in a referendum on the EU constitution.
The move comes after the Spanish press claimed he had feigned flu to cancel a visit set for last Friday.
"The Chancellor and (Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez) Zapatero agreed to take part in a debate on the European constitution on Wednesday, 16 February, in Zaragoza," the spokesman said.
"The Chancellor is happy about his meeting with Mr Zapatero."
Earlier the spokesman dismissed accusations that Schroeder had invented flu, in order to avoid travelling to Barcelona on Friday to join French President Jacques Chirac and Zapatero to make a joint appeal to Spanish voters to back the EU constitution in a 20 February referendum.
Schroeder is "really ill", the spokesman said, saying was "very astonished" at the doubts expressed by some Spanish dailies on Saturday.
The Spanish media's suspicions were aroused by a photograph of Schroeder taken early on Friday in the northern German city of Luebeck, which showed him laughing, and apparently on good form.
"Schroeder appears in good health, but cancels because of flu his participation in the Barcelona meeting," the centre-right Spanish daily El Mundo said.
The German government spokesman said, however, Schroeder was "already ill when he was photographed".
Spain will be the first of around a dozen EU states, including France, to put the text to a popular vote.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi also cancelled a visit to the same meeting in Spain because of flu.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news