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German legislature approves Greek bailout

Lobbying by German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to stop a revolt within conservative blocs.

By Ed Adamczyk
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble worked to assure passage of the Greek bailout bill in the german legislature (CC/ wikimedia.org/ Kuebi)
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble worked to assure passage of the Greek bailout bill in the german legislature (CC/ wikimedia.org/ Kuebi)

BERLIN, Aug. 19 (UPI) -- The German Parliament approved a bailout for Greece Wednesday, although lobbying by German Chancellor Angela Merkel failed to stop a revolt within conservative blocs.

The vote to approve a loan of 86 billion euros ($95 billion) passed by 453 to 113, with 18 abstentions. That 47 legislators chose not to attend the special session was an indication that some conservatives preferred not to vote at all. In July, 60 of the 311 conservative-leaning representatives voted against even considering reopening talks for another Greek bailout.

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The loan by the European Union's European Stability Mechanism requires the approval of the Greek legislature, Eurozone finance ministers and legislatures of each Eurozone countries, and is slowly falling into place. Assuming the finance ministers approve the deal Wednesday, Greece will have the funding to pay a debt of 3.2 billion Euros ($3.53 billion) to the European Central Bank, due Aug. 20.

Although the measure passed by a large margin in the German legislature, it required hard lobbying by Merkel and her finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, who has considerable standing among German conservatives.

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Regarding Greece's success after its third bailout in five years, Schauble told lawmakers, "After the experience of the past months and years, there is no guarantee that everything will work, and doubts are always allowed. But in view of the fact that the Greek Parliament has already passed a large part of the measures, it would be irresponsible not to use the opportunity now for a new start in Greece. For many, many reasons, we need a strong Europe capable of action. I have fought for these decisions and I must ask you to approve the proposal of the government."

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