German parliament approves €86B third Greek bailout
Bundestag approves conditional bailout program for Greece, despite resistance within Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democratic bloc
The German parliament has approved a third bailout for Greece worth up to €86 billion ($95.5 billion) to save the EU member country from bankruptcy.
A total of 453 German lawmakers voted in favor of the bailout on Wednesday, with 113 lawmakers voting against and 18 abstaining.
German President Norbert Lammert had announced earlier that 454 lawmakers voted "yes”, but later the press office released a correction, stating that 453 lawmakers voted in favor.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative-left coalition government had put its weight behind the bailout program, on which Greece and international creditors reached an agreement on August 11, after weeks of negotiations.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble, who last month floated the idea of a temporary Greek Exit, or Grexit, from the eurozone, changed his tune and called on lawmakers to vote in favor of the third bailout.
"It would be irresponsible not to use this chance now for a new start in Greece," Schauble told lawmakers ahead of the vote in the parliament.
He criticized Greece’s Syriza government for wasting time and not implementing reforms soon after it came to power in February, and blamed it for the worsening economic situation in Greece.
But he praised the policy shift in Athens in the last couple of weeks and highlighted that the Greek parliament had already passed this month a large part of the measures demanded by international creditors.
"If Greece honors its commitments and fully implements the program in a decisive way, then the Greek economy can grow again in the coming years," he said.
Schauble turned down opposition calls for a "debt haircut" for Greece, arguing that it would mean the violation of EU treaties.
He also said that the participation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the third bailout was essential.
The IMF said that a decision would be made about its participation in September.
Resistance within CDU/CSU
A record number of lawmakers from Merkel’s Christian Democrat bloc (CDU/CSU) opposed the new bailout for Greece.
According to the protocols released at the parliament’s website, 63 conservative lawmakers voted against the third bailout; three of them abstained; 17 lawmakers from the CDU/CSU parliamentary group did not attend the vote.
Last month, 60 conservative lawmakers voted against entering negotiations for a third-bailout for Greece.
They claimed that it would not save the country and a fourth bailout would be needed in the coming months. They instead favored plans for the exit of Greece from eurozone.
The bailout agreement with the Eurogroup and the institutional creditors calls for €86 billion ($95.5 billion) in bailout loans over three years, with a first tranche of €26 billion ($28.8 billion), along with a series of far-reaching economic reforms to be passed by the Greek parliament. Some of these have already been passed.
The first tranche of the bailout will cover a €3.2 billion ($3.5 billion) payment to the European Central Bank that Greece must make on Thursday.
Germany’s share on the €86 billion third bailout is €23.2 billion.
The EU and IMF provided €110 billion in bailout loans to Greece to help the government pay its creditors in 2010. A second €130 billion bailout was provided in 2012.
Last Modified: 2015-08-20 08:46:55
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