Bloomberg News

Schaeuble Sees Decision on Greek Aid as CDU Allies Balk

November 15, 2012

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said a European decision on how to sustain Greece’s finances is likely next week.

Schaeuble said euro-area policy makers are set to agree at a Nov. 20 meeting on the “priority task” of how to close a Greek financing gap that emerged last week. “We’ll resolve that by Tuesday,” Schaeuble said at a conference in Berlin today. Greece needs to finance a two-year extension in debt-reduction targets.

Schaeuble’s need for speed contrasts with a demand by senior members of his Christian Democratic Union party to see a full report from Greece’s monitors, known as the troika, before deciding on further payments. By the end of the year, Greece is due 44.6 billion euros ($57 billion) in aid.

Leading CDU lawmakers said today that they will resist pressure to make any snap decision how to help Greece until they’ve “thoroughly” assessed a still-incomplete report of the troika. “We won’t be put under any time pressure to decide payments,” said the CDU’s finance spokesman and deputy chairman in parliament, Michael Meister, in an interview today.

German lawmakers, whose authority over budgetary matters was confirmed in court this year, want to scrutinize the complete report, said Meister.

“If the troika report took months to compile, then any decision on payments to Greece can’t be rushed, compromising parliamentary democracy,” said Meister.

The lower chamber in Berlin will need three votes to approve the outstanding payments to Greece, said Norbert Barthle, the CDU’s budget spokesman, in a separate interview.

The Bild Zeitung newspaper said this week three suspended loans due to Greece adding up to 44.6 billion euros would be bundled into one parliamentary vote.

“I can’t imagine that will be the case as Greece is seeking new terms for its bailout,” said Barthle. Payment of 8.6 billion euros in loans due in the fourth quarter and 5 billion euros from the third quarter will be decided in two votes by the budget committee, while a tranche of 31.3 billion euros will require a plenary session, said Barthle.

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian Parkin in Berlin at bparkin@bloomberg.net; Jeff Black in Frankfurt at jblack25@bloomberg.net

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


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