Germany shrugs off call for greater spending

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BERLIN (AP) — Germany's government says it's committed to keeping its spending in check, despite signs of an economic slowdown and widespread calls abroad for Berlin to pump money into the economy.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Saturday urged European countries with "external surpluses and fiscal flexibility" to do more to address weakness in demand that was holding back growth.

His comments were clearly aimed at Germany, which has recently received a string of weak economic reports that point toward recession.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman on Monday blamed the economic slump on international crises, like that in Ukraine, hitting exporting nations such as Germany.

Steffen Seibert told reporters in Berlin that the government would stick by its plan for a balanced budget in 2015, a policy he described as "growth-friendly consolidation."