Germany backs third bailout for Greece

BERLIN • Greece's third bailout cleared one of its last hurdles after the German Parliament voted in favour of an aid package of up to €86 billion (S$130 billion).

Germany's Lower House backed the programme, following a three-hour debate yesterday, with 454 in favour, 113 against and 18 abstentions.

A breakdown showing the number of dissenters within Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat-led bloc will be released later. The euro was up 0.2 per cent as of 12.14pm in Berlin.

The Bundestag approved the bailout after a week of hard lobbying from Dr Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.

Dr Merkel voiced confidence on Tuesday that the International Monetary Fund will help provide loans, while Mr Schaeuble told lawmakers yesterday that extending Greece's financial lifeline is in Europe's interest.

The Social Democrats, Dr Merkel's coalition partner, and opposition Greens also supported the measure. "After the experiences of the past, there are no guarantees that this will work and doubts are always allowed," Mr Schaeuble told lawmakers in Berlin.

"But given the fact that the Greek Parliament has already adopted a large part of the measures, it would be irresponsible not to seize the chance for a new start in Greece."

Bailout opponents argue that Greece is in a debt trap and that policymakers are bending euro area rules to hold the currency union together. Bild, Germany's most-read newspaper, said in an article opposing the programme that "it doesn't offer a rescue - not for Greece or the euro, and certainly not for Europe" after "five wasted years of rescue policies".

Dr Merkel's coalition has consistently backed financial rescues during Europe's debt crisis, though dissent has grown with each ballot. Germany has been the biggest country contributor to euro area bailouts.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 20, 2015, with the headline 'Germany backs third bailout for Greece'. Print Edition | Subscribe