الجمعة , مايو 21 2021

German MPs debate Greek bailout vote

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks at the Bundestag on 17 July 2015

Mrs Merkel has been trying to persuade fellow Christian Democrats to support the negotiations

German MPs have started debating a motion on whether to allow negotiations on Greece’s €86bn (£60bn) bailout deal.

Germany is one of several eurozone states that must give the green light before the rescue deal can go ahead.

Greek MPs voted for the bailout, including hard-hitting austerity measures, on Thursday. However, the government lost its majority.

The German vote comes hours after the news that Greek banks, shut nearly three weeks ago, will reopen on Monday.

The announcement was made after the European Central Bank (ECB) raised the level of emergency funding available.

However, credit controls limiting cash withdrawals to €60 a day will only be eased gradually, officials say.


Greek banks are closed and cash withdrawals are tightly restricted

Earlier, eurozone ministers also agreed a €7bn bridging loan from an EU-wide fund to keep finances afloat.

The moves came after Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won a parliamentary vote on the bailout proposals in the early hours of Thursday.

Analysis: Jenny Hill, BBC News, Berlin correspondent

It’s German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 61st birthday – but don’t expect a celebratory mood in the Bundestag.

The German parliament is expected to vote in favour of the proposal. But the mood is ugly. Forty-eight of Mrs Merkel’s conservative MPs indicated last night they will defy her. Others will go along with the party line but grudgingly; many here struggle to justify a third bailout to taxpayers in their constituencies.

This morning a poll revealed 49% of Germans don’t want to enter talks over the deal.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble can expect a tough time too; his notoriously hawkish stance has upset some MPs who worry that Germany’s reputation has been damaged as a result.

Interestingly, Mr Schaeuble used an interview on the eve of the debate to raise the prospect again of a temporary Greek exit from the eurozone.

Chancellor Merkel has urged MPs to back the deal, saying she was “absolutely convinced” it was the way forward.

Austria’s parliament is also due to vote on the bailout package on Friday. Both the French and Finnish parliaments have already backed the deal.

Meanwhile, there have been fresh calls for Greek debt relief measures from International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde – echoing a call from Greek PM Alexis Tsipras.

Ms Lagarde told France’s Europe 1 the IMF would participate in a “complete” Greek package that includes debt restructuring, as well as an “in-depth reform” of the Greek economy.

Greece has debts of €320bn and is seeking its third international bailout. Last month it became the first developed country to fail to make a repayment on a loan from the IMF.

The bank closures have been one of the most visible signs of the crisis.

From Monday, a weekly limit on withdrawals may replace a daily cap, Deputy Finance Minister Dimitris Mardas suggested.

“If someone doesn’t want to take €60 on Monday and wants to take it on Tuesday, for instance, they can withdraw €120, or €180 on Wednesday,” he told Greek ERT television

Bridging loan

The announcements from the ECB and the Eurogroup came after Greek MPs passed tough reforms on VAT, taxes, pensions and labour rules as part of the new bailout deal.

ECB President Mario Draghi told a news conference that emergency funding – ELA – to Greek banks was being raised by €900m over one week.


Greek PM Alexis Tsipras, right, pictured with Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos, is expected to reshuffle his cabinet

The €7bn bridging loan means Greece will be able to repay debts to the ECB and IMF on Monday.

It was agreed in a conference call on Thursday to tap the EU’s EFSM emergency fund and is expected to be confirmed on Friday by all EU member states.

The move had angered some EU members who are not in the single currency, but on Thursday the UK said it had won an agreement to protect its contribution in the EFSM.

What happens next?

  1. German parliament to back negotiations on €86bn eurozone bailout deal (Friday)
  2. EU member states to back eurozone decision on €7bn bridging loan to clear Greece’s immediate debts (expected Friday)
  3. Greek parliament to pass further reforms (22 July)
  4. Lengthy eurozone talks to start on bailout through European Stability Mechanism

By 22 July, Greece must also commit to a major overhaul of the civil justice system. It has to agree to more privatisation, to review collective bargaining and industrial action, and make market reforms, including relaxing Sunday trading.

The Greek vote on Thursday paved the way for eurozone finance ministers to open detailed talks on the bailout.

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