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Greece

German parliament approves fresh bailout money for Greece

Before financial aid agreed by the European Union can be given to Greece, eurozone nations must vote on the measures. Germany has now given its parliamentary approval.

Beratungen der Finanzminister der Euro-Gruppe mit den Spitzen von Internationalem Währungsfonds (IWF) und Europäischer Zentralbank (EZB),
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Rheinland-Pfalz/ ARCHIV: Eine Ein-Euro-Muenze steht in Speyer fuer eine Fotoillustration auf einer Fahne der Europaeischen Union, waehrend im Hintergrund eine griechische Fahne zu sehen ist (Foto vom 03.11.12). Die Finanzminister der Eurozone wollen am Montag (26.11.12) ueber ein neues Rettungspaket fuer Griechenland verhandeln. Die Regierung in Athen benoetigt dringend die naechste Kredittranche in Hoehe von 31,5 Milliarden Euro, um einen moeglichen Staatsbankrott zu verhindern. In der vergangenen Woche waren die Gespraeche zunaechst gescheitert. (zu dapd-Text)

Eurokrise Eurozone Symbolbild

The bailout passed with broad support in parliament on Friday, with 473 votes for, 100 votes against, and 11 abstentions.

German Bundestag approves Greece aid

As previously announced, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens - parties in the opposition to Chancellor Angela Merkel's coaltion government - supported the measure.

The SPD's chancellor candidate for 2013 federal elections, Peer Steinbrück, was clear to make a distinction between support for the aid package and support for Merkel's government.

"We will vote for it because we don't want our reliability as European partners left in any doubt," he said on German public television on Friday before the vote. "It has nothing to do with the government."

Quick turnaround

Germany has participated in bailouts for Greece in the past, but this is the first time, as Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble announced earlier this week, that Germany's federal budget would directly be impacted to the tune of 730 million euros ($950 million) as a result. Previous participation in bailouts for Greece had consisted of credit guarantees.

The total aid package for Greece from all EU partners is 44 billion euros, which consists largely of deferrals on interest repayments.

Schäuble presented the bailout package to parliament on Friday ahead of the vote and said that while the next step was necessary, there were many more steps to come.

"Problems that have been developing over decades cannot be solved in two years," he said, referring to Greek sovereign debt that had spiraled out of control and triggered the eurozone crisis. Schäuble also praised Greece for implementing strict austerity measures to try and get a handle on the problem, but warned that the severe effects on Greece's economy that the austerity brought with it needed to be spread out over time.

The Left party voted against the measure, saying the decision had come much too quickly after EU leaders had determined Greece had met the conditions of the next bailout installment. Lawmakers were given less than 48 hours to review the measure before Friday's vote.

mz/dr (AP, Reuters, dpa, dapd)

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