• Germany's news in English
 

Parliament approves €43.7 billion for Greece

Published: 30 Nov 2012 12:25 GMT+01:00
Updated: 30 Nov 2012 14:12 GMT+01:00

MPs voted by 473 to 100 to give the green light to the release of €43.7 billion in aid to debt-wracked Greece agreed after torturous talks between eurozone finance ministers. There were 11 abstentions.

The result of the vote was secured in advance after the two main opposition parties vowed to support Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling centre-right coalition, with less than a year until elections.

But a breakdown of the vote showed that Merkel did not have to rely on the opposition to win. From her own coalition ranks, 297 deputies voted in favour, enough to carry a majority from the 584 votes cast.

Before the vote Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had pointed to the significant efforts made by the Greek government to implement reforms demanded in return for the aid and warned of the consequences of letting Athens fall.

"Without our support, it would not only be the future of Greece at stake, but also the future of the eurozone as a whole," Schäuble said.

"The potential impact of a Greek default on other eurozone countries and the eurozone would be serious. The consequences are not foreseeable. We cannot start a process that could end in the break-up of the entire eurozone."

Although the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) voted largely in favour, political debate has raged over whether German taxpayers will eventually have to accept losses on Berlin's holdings of Greek debt.

Many in Germany consider that a so-called haircut - or write-down of Greek debt holdings - by public institutions like other eurozone governments and the European Central Bank is inevitable.

And opposition politicians have accused Chancellor Angela Merkel of playing down the need for a haircut on Greece, fearful of the impact on her chances in the federal election expected to take place on September 22.

Schäuble said that speculation about such a haircut sent "exactly the wrong incentive" to Greece, arguing that it reduced the pressure on the government in Athens to enact structural economic reforms.

But the SPD's parliamentary head of the SPD, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, accused members of the governing coalition of being inconsistent and making comments in an "irresponsible way" about Greece's future in the eurozone.

"Wait and see how things develop - that may sometimes have been good for peace in the coalition, but for our image in Europe, for Germany's image in Europe, it was not," he fumed.

A haircut for Greece further down the line was inevitable, Steinmeier argued, telling Merkel: "All you have bought is time."

Merkel's challenger next year, former finance minister Peer Steinbrück said ahead of the vote that his Social Democrats would vote in favour "not to support the government but out of political responsibility for Europe."

Der Spiegel magazine pointed to the difficulties faced by the SPD as it battles to define itself and its policies ahead of the federal election.

"With less than a year to go before general elections, the centre-left opposition party finds itself struggling to distance itself from Chancellor Angela Merkel on the election season's most important issue: the euro crisis," it wrote in its online edition.

"And that failure could weigh heavily on its chances" in September, it suggested.

Following a series of landmark decisions by the country's top court, Germany's parliament must vote on any new rescue packages in the eurozone or major changes to existing packages.

Finland and the Netherlands are the only two other eurozone countries where parliamentary consent is needed to unfreeze funds for Greece.

Also included in the package is a debt buy-back scheme, in which Greece is loaned money to repurchase its debt at lower prices on the market.

AFP/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:35 November 30, 2012 by Kennneth Ingle
I wonder what these politicians would say, if it was their own money which is being given away. The old, sick and out of work, are all told that Germany is unable to pay them reasonable benifits, because there is no cash in the Kitty.

For banks and incapable governments it would seem there is always more than enough.
18:05 November 30, 2012 by jmclewis
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a new result.
18:09 November 30, 2012 by IchBinKönig
'Although the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) voted largely in favour, political debate has raged over whether German taxpayers will eventually have to accept losses on Berlin's holdings of Greek debt.'

It is clear by the fact that the Money now sent to Greece is referred to as 'Aid', that Germany will not be paid back. The Union has gone from a Creditor / Debtor relationship to a Donor / Recipient relationship.

Jin Liqun, Chairman of Peoples Bank of China said so himself. This man controls China's Sovereign wealth, and does not trust that any investment in Europe will be paid back. Hence, China will not 'Invest' in Europe.

Anybody that debates on the side that says Germany will be paid back its loans in any meaningful matter, is either a fool or liar.

One of the most enlightening interviews on the topic of why China, or anybody for that matter, refuses to 'Invest' in Europe is laid bare faced. here is the Interview. No Spin, No BS. This is what you are actually facing in Germany. Germans, you are being robbed. But let the debates rage, just remember, it might be the Thief who tells you his hand is not in your pocket.

http://bcove.me/xj60be7t
18:24 November 30, 2012 by truth is treason
In the above photo Is Angie telling the people behind "There is 50 Billion Euro limit on Dave Camerons' Credit card, so if we give Greece 43.7 Billion euros there should be enough to buy the next round of drinks" I read somewhere that the Governments and ECB take a hair cut but Goldman Sachs et All have written their contracts where they get paid in full. To find out how Greece got in such a big mess search this sentence and read this Article: The Secret Goldman Sachs-Greece Deal That's Described As 'A Very Sexy Story Between Two Sinners'
20:03 November 30, 2012 by Englishted
"Without our support, it would not only be the future of Greece at stake, but also the future of the eurozone as a whole," Schäuble said.

He has changed his tune again last time I heard it didn't matter if they stayed or went the mighty €uro was indestructible. Hypocrisy knows no limit in this on going saga.
20:40 November 30, 2012 by michael valerio
I though the German tax payer had more sense.
05:18 December 1, 2012 by Steve1949
The reality is that the EU and Euro are a joke. They give these multi-billion Euro donations out like they were giving some beggar on the street 50 cents. All these politicians have lost touch with reality. They already know they will never see this money again and still there is very little hesitation to giving more away. Maybe we all should stop paying on our outstanding debts. If the government can continue to throw money away like this they should have enough to cover our debts as well.
12:30 December 1, 2012 by gorongoza
There are things which German tax payers get pissed off with - not paying sums after sums of money in an endless pit.

I have finally come to think that it gives them a sense of "the rich man of Europa" - a badge they proudly value.
12:43 December 1, 2012 by Repatriated
The Germans penny pinch when it comes to their own people's welfare, but are more than willing to throw money at everyone else just to give the appearance that we really care. So what happens when Spain, Portugal, Irland, Italy and a few other countries thereafter come to Germany with cup in hand and ask (read demand) the same treatment that Greece received. Where in the hell is all this money going to come from to bail out the rest of Europe's sqandering economies...print more money like they do in the USA?

The idea of uniting countries having incompatible cultures, language and work ethics into the Euro, or as a matter of fact into a United Europe is nothing more than an ill conceived socialistic and idealistic idea that is a recipe for failure in the long run.
14:11 December 1, 2012 by raandy
In the end after more bailouts it will be easy to see that a debt reduction would be the better move, Your first loss is usually the smallest loss.

There is no way the economy can move forward under these draconian austerity measures.The debt to GDP ratio is still expanding , the bail outs do little to reduce that or stop it from increasing.

If you consider the EU unemployment is around 11.7% and has slipped back into recession the bail out solves nothing except extending the inevitable.
04:50 December 14, 2012 by US-TommyBoy
The PIIGS are leading the Germans to economic slaughter.

But then here in the US....the Fed is leading us to slaughter.

Do not worry about inflation, be very worried about stagflation and a depression.
Today's headlines
Greece crisis
Greek offer 'no basis for discussion': Schäuble
Pro-EU Greeks demonstrate outside the Athens parliament on Tuesday. Photo: DPA

Greek offer 'no basis for discussion': Schäuble

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Wednesday crisis-hit Greece was sending mixed signals in debt talks and called on its government to "clarify its position" before negotiations with creditors can resume. READ  

Weathermen issue snow alert in heatwave
Could this be July in North Rhine-Westphalia? Photo: DPA

Weathermen issue snow alert in heatwave

The German Weather Service (DWD) issued a weather warning for North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on Wednesday predicting 5 to 10 cm of snow and winds of up to 60 km/h. READ  

Analysis
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
Angela Merkel faces a battery of microphones and cameras at a eurozone summit in Brussels on June 22nd. Photo: DPA

How German media shaped the Greece crisis

It's often said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is the one person who truly matters when it comes to how the eurozone deals with Greece. But how much freedom does 'Mutti' really have in the face of the public and the media? READ  

Women trade punches over neglected dog poo
'This is not a dog toilet.' Photo: DPA

Women trade punches over neglected dog poo

Bergisch Gladbach in North Rhine-Westphalia, hometown of supermodel Heide Klum, was once linked in Germans' minds with the catwalk. But now it is just as infamous for a dog walk, after two women came to blows over a mound of pooch poo. READ  

Referee costs Germany dear against USA
Head coach Silvia Neid (r) with Celia Sasic (l) on the bench. Photo: DPA

Referee costs Germany dear against USA

Germany coach Silvia Neid said she found the referee's decision-making 'sad' in her country's 2-0 semi-final defeat to the USA in the Women's World Cup in Montreal on early Wednesday morning. READ  

Train strikes
Train drivers and Bahn bury the hatchet
Three ICE (intercity) trains stand in a siding. Photo: DPA

Train drivers and Bahn bury the hatchet

The Train Drivers' Union (GDL) and Deutsche Bahn (DB) have finally agreed to end their dispute over drivers' work conditions, offering hope that nine months of rail chaos has finally come to an end. READ  

European heatwave
Keep cool and stay safe in the July heatwave
A couple leaping into an open-air pool in Freiburg. Photo: DPA

Keep cool and stay safe in the July heatwave

Here's how to keep cool as the mercury soars during this week's heatwave in Germany. And don't forget your pets! READ  

Former judge to see NSA target list
Photo: DPA

Former judge to see NSA target list

The Bundestag (German parliament) inquiry into spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA) has chosen a former judge to examine lists of targets given to German spies by the Americans. READ  

Germanwings tragedy
Germany learns lessons on pilots’ mental health
Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt (left) and aviation safety task force leader Matthias von Randow. Photo: DPA:

Germany learns lessons on pilots’ mental health

In response to the Germanwings flight tragedy, Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt presented plans to strengthen mental health care for pilots while Germanwings announced further compensation for relatives of the flight's victims. READ  

Germany: land of cheap beer and drunkards?
Getting müllered? Football star Thomas Müller enjoys a Mass. Photo: DPA

Germany: land of cheap beer and drunkards?

It's official. If getting drunk on a park bench is your thing, look no further than Germany as an ideal location. A study released on Monday shows it's cheap. And you'll have plenty of company. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
Politics
Follow our LIVE blog as Europe holds breath over Greece crisis
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Culture
What's top of the charts in June
Gallery
Germany's most beautiful cycle routes
Business & Money
The business case for Britain in the EU
Rhineland
Why farmers are free to pong up the countryside
National
German restaurants among world's best
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,946
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd