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Hospitalised German finance minister improving: Merkel

Published on 10/05/2010

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, hospitalised in Brussels after an allergic reaction, is recovering quickly and should be able to leave hospital soon, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday.

Wheelchair-bound Schaeuble, 67, spent the night under medical surveillance after reacting badly to medicine he took for the first time, and could not attend Sunday’s EU finance ministers meeting to hammer out an emergency deal for Greece.

“I believe his state of health has markedly improved,” Merkel told reporters, adding that she had spoken to him “several times” by telephone.

“As far as I know, he will be able to leave the hospital today and we will be informed throughout the day of what is happening,” she added.

Schaeuble’s spokesman, Michael Offer, said late Sunday that the minister was “doing well under the circumstances” and “understands what is being said to him.”

Confined to a wheelchair after a 1990 attack by a mentally disturbed man who fired three shots at him, Schaeuble 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) Sunday.

On arrival, de Maiziere said Schaeuble 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 negotiating plan,” he said.