Tuesday, February 28, 2012

German parliament approves second Greek bailout

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (C) casts her ballot during a session at the Bundestag in Berlin on February 27, 2012

Source: Press TV

The German parliament has overwhelmingly approved the second bailout package for Greece to help the heavily indebted country stabilize and avert bankruptcy.

On Monday, German MPs voted 496 to 90, with five abstentions, to approve the 130-billion-euro (174.4-billion-dollar) rescue package.

Just before the vote, Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Bundestag, or lower house of parliament, warning the lawmakers of the consequences of not coming to Greece's aid.

"The risks of turning away from Greece now are incalculable," Merkel told the 591 MPs of the Bundestag.

"No one can assess what consequences would arise for the German economy, on Italy, Spain, the eurozone as a whole and finally for the whole world,” she added.

The parliament was certain to back the motion after two opposition parties -- the Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens -- said they would support the plan.

Despite the motion's approval, German skepticism about Greece remains.

"The Bundestag will in the foreseeable future be dealing with a third (rescue) package for Greece," said SPD member Peer Steinbrueck, a former finance minister, adding that only strong economic growth would stabilize Greece.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has openly called for Greece to leave the eurozone, saying it would have a better chance to make its economy competitive if it was outside the monetary union.

According to an opinion poll released on Sunday, 62 percent of Germans opposed the new rescue package for Greece.

The poll was conducted by the Emnid institute for the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

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