Germany's finance minister is rejecting any idea of watering down the diet of austerity and structural reforms being used to combat the eurozone debt crisis.

Increasing questions have arisen over Berlin's hard line recently as the eurozone's economy stutters and austerity becomes ever more unpopular in struggling nations. But Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble on Tuesday reiterated that sustainable growth can't be generated by running up new debts.

Schaeuble was quoted as telling the daily Handelsblatt: "Saving and growth are not a contradiction. So the (rescue) programs do not deprive countries of purchasing power, as is often asserted."

He insisted that "we cannot spare the affected countries the reforms."

Schaeuble underlined Germany's support for greater European integration in the long term but insisted on a step-by-step approach.