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Dutch lawmakers representing parties with a parliamentary majority backed Greece’s revised aid package at a committee meeting, indicating passage when the full parliament votes next week.
“This package avoids an immediate bankruptcy of Greece so we support it,” Mark Harbers of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberal Party said during the debate. The agreement “weighs heavily” on him, Harbers said, adding he doesn’t rule out a write-off of bilateral loans to Greece in the long run. Henk Nijboer of the Labor Party, the Liberals’ coalition partner, said his group also backs the aid plan.
The Dutch Cabinet asked the parliament earlier today to vote on Greece’s latest aid package before euro-area finance ministers meet on Dec. 13 in Brussels. Members of the parliamentary finance committee discussed the package today, and the full parliament may vote after a debate Dec. 12, Hester Oomes, a parliamentary spokeswoman, said by phone.
The Christian Democrats, an opposition party, also backs the new Greek aid plan, legislator Eddy Van Hijum said at today’s meeting. “Step by step we’re pulling this country out of the well,” he said.
Euro-area finance ministers last week agreed to lower interest rates on bilateral loans to Greece and funnel their countries’ potential profits on Greek bonds held by the European Central Bank to Greece’s bailout account. The concessions may cost the Netherlands approximately 70 million euros ($92 million) a year over the next 14 years, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem said Nov. 26.
The bid to ease Greece’s debt burden underscores a move away from austerity-first measures European leaders have embraced since the fiscal crisis began in 2009. German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week signaled her country may ultimately accept a write-off of Greek debt, previously a taboo for the biggest contributor to bailouts.
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