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Germany approves Greek bailout cash


FRANKFURT AM MAIN, GERMANY: A huge euro logo stands in front of the headquarters of the European Central Bank (ECB) on April 9, 2009 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


Ralph Orlowski

BERLIN, Germany — The German parliament has approved the latest billion-euro rescue package for Greece, despite concerns that it will add millions to the national budget.

The Bundestag, or lower house of German parliament, voted 473 in favor and 100 against, with 11 abstentions, the BBC reported.

They were green-lighting the decision taken on Monday by euro-zone finance ministers, who agreed to give Greece its next installment of bailout loans, worth €44 billion ($51 billion), on Dec. 13.

Ahead of the vote, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned lawmakers: "Without our support, it would not only be the future of Greece at stake, but also the future of the euro zone as a whole."

"We cannot start a process that could end in the break-up of the entire euro zone," Agence France Presse quoted him as saying.

There had been some grumblings in parliament about the latest payment, Der Spiegel said, not least because, for the first time, it will impact directly on Germany's federal budget:

"Reduced interest income combined with the decision to reserve profits earned by the European Central Bank – which are then distributed to national central banks – for the Greeks mean that Berlin's 2013 revenues will take a €730-million hit. Germany will be forced to do without billions more over the course of subsequent years."

Greece has received nearly €150 billion ($195 billion) of bailout loans since May 2010.

As well as the emergency funds, this latest package includes a cut in the interest rate Greece has to pay on its previous loans, plus an extension on the time Athens has to pay them back.

It's hoped the measures will help the Greek government reduce its debt to to 124 percent of gross domestic product by 2020.

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