BERLIN, June 16 German Economy Minister Sigmar
Gabriel was not casting doubt on the importance of European
Union fiscal rules when he said in a visit to France on Monday
that reform costs should be taken into account when calculating
states' deficit levels, an aide said.
"Sigmar Gabriel by no means questioned the Stability and
Growth Pact in Toulouse," said a spokesman for Gabriel, who as
the head of the Social Democrats (SPD) is deputy chancellor to
Angela Merkel in the German coalition government.
"Like many others before him, he was merely pointing out
that some states could be granted more time to reduce their
deficits if they carry out concrete reforms," said Gabriel's
spokesman in a statement.
(Reporting by Gernot Heller; Writing by Stephen Brown)