German Parliament Backs Greek Bailout Despite Rebellion

A demonstrator protests against the third bailout for Greece outside Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin
REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

German lawmakers gave their go-ahead on Friday for the euro zone to negotiate a third bailout for Greece, but a warning from Chancellor Angela Merkel that the alternative was chaos failed to prevent a hefty rebellion in her own party.

The Bundestag, the lower house of parliament, whose backing was essential for the talks to start, decisively approved the move by 439 votes to 119, but almost a fifth of Merkel’s conservatives voted ‘No’.

Popular misgivings run deep in Germany, the euro zone country that has already contributed most to Greece’s two bailouts since 2010, about funnelling yet more aid to Athens.

Merkel’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, had suggested that Greece might be better off taking a time-out from the euro zone to sort out its daunting economic problems, although the creditors’ offer to Athens includes the conditions for more austerity and economic reform that Berlin had demanded.

But Merkel argued for a new deal to be negotiated to prevent a Greek exit from the euro that might undermine the entire currency union, and said neither Greece nor the other 18 euro zone member countries were willing to accept a suspension.

Read more at Reuters