Bloomberg News

German Lawmakers Set to Back Greek Package, Schaeuble Says

February 21, 2012

(Updates with comments from opposition lawmaker, economist starting in fourth paragraph.)

Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) -- German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he’s “very confident” that lawmakers in Berlin will approve the second bailout package for Greece after euro- area finance ministers completed negotiations in Brussels.

“The decision isn’t easy for anybody, it’s not simple,” Schaeuble said today on Deutschlandfunk radio. “But it’s a decision that has to be weighed carefully, considering the advantages and disadvantages of the possible alternatives.”

Previous rescue measures to stem the region’s debt crisis have passed the German parliament with the backing of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition and two of the three opposition parties. The lower-house vote on the 130 billion-euro ($173 billion) second Greek bailout is scheduled for Feb. 27.

“Parliaments have always agreed to support packages so far, as a rejection might have triggered a crisis,” Joerg Kraemer, chief economist at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, said in a research note today.

Carsten Schneider, the budget spokesman for Germany’s Social Democrats, the biggest opposition group in parliament, suggested that his party’s lawmakers will back the Greek aid package. “If the Greeks request it, one shouldn’t stand in the way of this request,” he said on Deutschlandfunk today.

Questions remain about whether Greece can reduce its debt to a sustainable level, meaning Europe may need to expand its firewall against the crisis, Schneider said in the interview. “This raises the question whether the amount of 500 billion in the ESM, the permanent rescue fund, is enough,” he said.

--With assistance from Brian Parkin in Berlin. Editors: Alan Crawford, Eddie Buckle

To contact the reporters on this story: Tony Czuczka in Berlin at aczuczka@bloomberg.net; Patrick Donahue in Berlin at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net


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