* Finance Minister dismisses charge Germany not doing enough
* Schaeuble says Germany has 'well-conceived' exit strategy
By Erik Kirschbaum
BERLIN, June 24 Finance Minister Wolfgang
Schaeuble rejected criticism that Germany was endangering
economic recovery with austerity measures, saying the government
had a "well-conceived" exit strategy from its stimulus spending.
In a guest column for the Handelsblatt newspaper on
Thursday, Schaeuble said he could not understand criticism from
abroad that Germany was "wrecking the recovery with austerity
measures" because Berlin was doing a lot to stimulate growth.
"There is an implicit accusation that we're not living up to
our international responsibilities as far as economic policies
are concerned," Schaeuble wrote in a contribution for the
business daily ahead of the G20 summit this weekend in Toronto.
"I cannot understand this argument because Germany has taken
sweeping measures since 2008 to stabilise the economy. We've
done that on top of all the automatic stabilisers we have (such
as higher social welfare spending) that play a much smaller role
in countries from which we're now being criticised."
Germany recently announced plans for 80 billion euros in
budget cuts over the next four years, a package it hopes will
bring the structural deficit of Europe's biggest economy within
European Union limits by 2013.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top White House
economic adviser Lawrence Summers wrote in a Wall Street Journal
piece on Tuesday that G20 peers should not risk undermining
growth for the sake of cutting deficits, echoing a similar call
from President Barack Obama. [ID:nN22169279]
'WELL-CONCEIVED EXIT STRATEGY'
Schaeuble pointed to Germany's budget deficit climbing to
five percent of gross domestic product (GDP) as evidence of its
commitment to growth-boosting measures.
"It's true that an abrupt and ill-conceived exit from the
stabilisation measures could endanger their success," he said.
"But a credit-financed stimulation of demand cannot become a
permanent, drug-like fix.
"We need a well-conceived exit strategy. The German
government has one. The first consolidation measures won't take
effect until 2011 and amount to less than 0.5 percent of GDP.
There's no way that can be called hitting the brakes."
Germany, Europe's largest economy, has vigorously defended
its plans to pursue the 80 billion euro savings measures euros
in the next four years after Obama preached patience in clamping
down on public spending.
On Thursday, Chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed criticism in
a separate interview with ARD TV that Germany was not doing
enough to stimulate its economy. [ID:nLDE65N04E]
Merkel said she had told Obama in a phone call that Germany
had done much to support economic growth with stimulus measures.
"Germany is doing much more in 2010 for the worldwide
economic recovery than (other countries) on average," she said.
(Writing by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Mike Peacock)