Merkel 'confident' Spain bailout will be approved
GERMAN Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday she was confident that a majority of her country's lawmakers would back aid for Spain's ailing banking sector at a special sitting of the lower house Bundestag set for Thursday.
Eurozone finance ministers agreed last Monday on a rescue package of €100bn for Spanish banks, which have been crippled by a burst housing bubble.
Ms Merkel's government needs a green light from the Bundestag before finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble can commit at a meeting of eurozone finance ministers on Friday to pay out Germany's share of the bailout.
"We always get the majority we need," Ms Merkel said.
A small minority of lawmakers from Ms Merkel's centre-right coalition voted recently against the eurozone's new bailout fund and new budget rules, highlighting the growing unease in Germany about the costs of supporting weaker members of the single currency bloc.
Ms Merkel's government easily won a two-thirds majority for the two measures, however, with the help of opposition parties.
Ms Merkel also said the eurozone had not yet resolved the issue of whether its bailout funds -- the European Financial Stability Facility and its eventual successor, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) -- or recipient states would be liable for future aid payments to banks.
"We have not adopted any final positions on this yet," she said.
The conservative leader re-affirmed her stance that the price of continued support for eurozone countries in difficulty must be strict adherence by the governments concerned to tough fiscal targets and close European monitoring of their progress.