Germany approves $300 billion for Greece bailout

Story by Clark Boyd, PRI's The World. Listen to audio above for full report.

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European officials paid a visit to Greece on Thursday to determine if the Greeks have made enough budget cuts to get the next promised cash infusion -- some $10 billion dollars. Those officials were met with protests in the streets of Athens.

Meanwhile, in Germany, lawmakers gave a resounding thumbs-up to adding more money to a fund designed to keep Greece’s debt problems from spreading across the 17-member eurozone. Eurozone leaders agreed back in July to expand the bailout fund to more than $500 billion. But their national parliaments still had to approve it.

German lawmakers endorsed the agreement by a wide margin on Thursday, though it was clear that not all were happy about it. Before the vote, opposition politician Peer Steinbrück criticized the way Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has handled the crisis.

He said that Merkel’s “medicine” to stave off the Greek crisis with loans and austerity measures had “failed.” He said the loans were just a placebo, and the austerity programs were becoming life-threatening to the Greeks.

Still, he said he would vote for the measure because of Germany’s “greater responsibility” to the eurozone.

As Europe’s largest economy, Germany would contribute close to $300 billion to the fund.

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