Wednesday 24 May 2017

Politicians to hold three votes on package

Rainer Buergin and Brian Parkin

GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel's government is readying plans for parliamentary votes on a bailout for Greece next week while Greek leaders struggle for consensus on terms of the aid, the deputy floor leader of Ms Merkel's party said.

Lower-house lawmakers are discussing as many as three separate votes on the package being thrashed out in Athens, plus allied measures to enable the participation of the euro-area's financial backstop, Michael Meister, who is also the parliamentary finance spokesman for Ms Merkel's Christian Democratic Union, said yesterday.

"Whether to vote on everything in one package or whether to divide it up into one, two or three packages is something we can look at calmly," Mr Meister said.

His comments suggest that the German government is looking beyond the bailout talks playing out in Athens over the past six days in anticipation of a successful outcome. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos is due to negotiate today with leaders of the political parties supporting his caretaker government.

In addition to a vote on the €130bn aid package, Mr Meister said there may be votes on steps to empower the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) to guarantee Greek government bonds held by the ECB and to guarantee some Greek bonds held by the private sector after a debt swap.

Ms Merkel's coalition last year backed amendments to the EFSF on the condition that any payments by Germany be approved by parliamentary majority. (Bloomberg)

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