• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Greece bailout passes with massive majority

AFP/The Local · 27 Feb 2015, 11:28

Published: 27 Feb 2015 08:28 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Feb 2015 11:28 GMT+01:00

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble had earlier told MPs that he was not asking for a "change" to Greece's bailout programme, but an extension "to successfully bring it to an end".

He added that while there was flexibility in the programme, Greece could not make changes without the consent of its European partners.

And he said that many European countries had lower minimum wages and living standards than the Greeks.

"The Greeks should think about that when they call for solidarity," he said.

Taking flight into philosophy, Schäuble called on his colleagues to remember that Germany is "the land of Immanuel Kant".

"When we come to a reasoned decision, we should think: what would happen if everyone made this decision?"

Since Germany was better off than many other countries, it should bear some of the burden of solidarity, he said.

Almost all the speakers at the debate were in favour of extending support to Greece.

But the Left (Linke) and the Green party both accused Chancellor Angela Merkel's government of hobbling Greece's chance for economic recovery by insisting on painful austerity measures.

Between two stools

The speech served to illustrate the balancing act the German government is performing, standing as it does between the need to keep Europe and the single currency together and irritation with what it sees as unreasonable demands from the new Greek government.

Other European countries share Germany's tough attitude, but tough talk from Europe's effective paymaster has sparked bitter exchanges with the hard-left government of Prime Minister Alexis Tspiras since elections last month.

Schäuble urged fellow conservative deputies to back the bailout reprieve on Thursday despite his "disbelief" at renewed comments from his Athens counterpart.

Pressure from Greece's debt of €320 billion - equivalent to 175 percent of its annual economic output - is so severe that Tspiras wants to renegotiate repayment obligations during the four-month bailout extension clinched Tuesday after gruelling negotiations with creditors.

Public sick of bailouts

That disbelief is shared by the public, just 21 percent of whom agreed with the idea of continuing to help Greece in a poll this week.

"No more billions for the greedy Greeks!" demanded mass daily Bild on Thursday, printing a huge "Nein!" (No), which it urged readers to hold up for selfies, some of which it published on Friday.

Story continues below…

A contrary "Yes! Yes! Yes!" was the response in commentary on news site Spiegel Online.

"We need ... a loud 'Yes' to the euro, to Europe and to the legacy of Helmut Kohl," it said, referring to Germany's ex-chancellor, a driving force behind European enlargement and integration after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, which together with the eurozone states hold most of Greece's debts, have also expressed misgivings.

Merkel has said the extension is just a "starting point" and that Berlin is under "no illusions" about the challenges ahead.

Alexander Kritikos, research director at the German DIW economic institute, said Greeks had an "old habit" of focusing their anger just on Schäuble, but others such as Finland, the Netherlands and Baltic states also took a firm line.

SEE ALSO: BILD says 'NEIN' to Greek bailout extension

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
'10,000s' in UK flood Berlin job site after Brexit vote
"Searching for job." Photo: DPA.

A German job-hunting website reported getting four times the amount of traffic from the UK that it normally does in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Man who stabbed Cologne mayor gets 14 years jail
Photo: DPA

The man who almost killed Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker when he stabbed her in the neck was sentenced to 14 years in jail on Friday.

Germany ups Turkey travel advisory after Istanbul attack
Berliners at the Brandenburg Gate mourn the victims of the Istanburl airport attack. Photo: DPA.

Germany on Friday warned its citizens to exercise particular caution if they travel to Turkey, following this week's deadly Istanbul airport attack.

Young Muslim takes on state on headscarf ban and wins
Aqilah Sandhu in court on Thursday. Photo: DPA

A 25-year-old lawyer has taken on the state of Bavaria over its attempts to stop her from wearing a headscarf - and scored a major victory.

Video
WATCH: Comic teaches about Ramadan on flying carpet
Photo: Screenshot from Dattelträger video.

A young comedian hopes his flying carpet stunt can help fight back against stereotypes - by becoming one.

Brexit vote
'It won't be romantic. But I need an EU passport'
Lucy Thomas (left), director at Give Something Back to Berlin. Photo: Private

British expats in Berlin tell The Local that a week after the Brexit vote they are still stunned - and are considering their next steps.

Town ravaged by floods tries to pick up the pieces
Rebuilding in Simbach. Photo: DPA

July 2nd should have been the start of a new life for Anna Kluchan and her husband. But then the floods came.

Lufthansa finally buries hatchet with cabin staff
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa and its cabin staff said Thursday they had reached an agreement on working conditions, bringing to an end a long and bitter industrial dispute that hit thousands of passengers.

Six burning questions for British expats about Brexit
Photo: DPA.

Uncertainty has kicked in over Brexit and what it may mean for Brits living in Germany.

Merkel demands German vote on EU free trade deal
Photo: DPA

Angela Merkel said the German parliament should be consulted on the EU's free trade deal with Canada, setting her on a collision course with the European Commission.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
7,912
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd