German parliament passes bailout deal for Greece

February 28, 2012 11:30 am 

BERLIN, Feb. 28 — The German parliament on Monday passed the much-anticipated second bailout package for Greece worth some 130 billion euros (174.4 billion U.S. dollars) to help the country avoid a default.

The German opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens earlier reached a consensus with the ruling center-right coalition to vote in favor of the bailout.

The package got 496 "yes" votes out of the total 591 deputies at the lower house of the Bundestag.

"The risks of turning away from Greece now are incalculable," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told the Bundestag before the vote, adding that "no-one can assess what consequences would arise for the German economy, on Italy, Spain, the eurozone as a whole and finally for the whole world" in case of a Greek bankruptcy.

It is the second bailout program for debt-ridden Greece since May 2010.

Merkel emphasized that the road lying ahead of Greece would be "very long and not without risk."

"No one can give 100 percent guarantee of success," she said.

She made it clear that the debt crisis is not over with the second aid package. "The process will take several years to complete," Merkel said.

However, the German share of financial rescue package for Greece remains undetermined.

Before the vote, Merkel made a surprise offer that Germany wanted to equip the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), a permanent rescue funding program to succeed the temporary European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), far faster than previously planned.

She announced the German government was ready to pump some 11 billion euros (14.7 billion dollars) as cash deposit into the fund later this year, and pay the second half of the German contribution in the coming year.

"The prerequisite for this is that the other member states follow the action," said the chancellor.

The funding of the ESM is on the agenda of the EU summit on Thursday and Friday in Brussels. (PNA/Xinhua)



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