German minister denies misuse of offical car

German Minister for Health’s official car was stolen in Denia on Sunday

The German Minister for Health, Ulla Schmidt, said today that she had never ‘abused the German state in any way’ and that she had ‘always done things correctly’.

Schmidt made these declarations to journalists after being heavily criticised after it came to light that she had used an official, chauffeur-driven car for her holiday in Denia after it was stolen from the villa where she was staying.

The use of the official car became public at the weekend when the German minister reported the disappearance of the car when two thieves apparently entered the room where the chauffeur was staying and stole the keys to the car, a class S Mercedes.

The German Minister for Health gave a talk yesterday in Els Poblets, a small town near Denia where foreign residents make up 60% of the population. The talk which took place in the Cultural Centre of the town was attended by at least 300 people.

Minutes before the conference was due to begin Schmidt spoke to both German and Spanish journalists who asked her about her use of an official state car for her holiday in Spain.

Schmidt explained that as Minister for Health she had the use of an official car both for official trips and private ones. However, she also added that the costs of private trips were calculated differently to official ones.

Schmidt stressed that during her stay in the province of Alicante she was also carrying out some duties related to her role as the German Minister for Health because she was taking advantage of the situation to find out about the worries and problems of German citizens living in the area and how the German government can help them.

She also added that it was possible that the news of the theft of a German Minister’s car while on holiday in Spain could be exaggerated out of all proportion during the summer months.

Schmidt said that she was relieved that her chauffeur had not been hurt in the robbery and revealed that he had been sleeping in the room when the keys were stolen.