Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble wait to vote on financial help for Greece at the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, in Berlin November 30, 2012. German lawmakers approved by a large majority on Friday a package of measures aimed at cutting Greece's debt load to 124 per cent by 2020.

WOLFGANG RATTAY/Reuters

German lawmakers approved the latest bailout for Greece on Friday by a large majority despite growing unease about the cost to taxpayers less than a year before federal elections.

The outcome of the vote in the lower house was never in doubt but it was a test of Angela Merkel's authority over her centre-right coalition. She did not manage to draw an absolute majority from her own ranks after 23 of her lawmakers rebelled.

But with the main opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens voting in favour with most of Ms. Merkel's bloc, the revolt had only symbolic value. Of 584 deputies present in the chamber, 473 voted for the bailout and 100 voted against.

Story continues below advertisement

The package, which aims to cut the Greek debt load to 124 of national output by 2020, coincides with increased speculation among German lawmakers and media that euro zone governments will eventually have to write off much of the Greek debt they hold.

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in the Bundestag debate that such speculation could undermine the Greek government's reform drive.

"If we say the debts will be written off (Greece's) willingness to make savings is correspondingly weakened. Such false speculation does not solve the problems," he said. "A Greek bankruptcy could lead to the break-up of the euro zone."

The government acknowledged for the first time this week that the bailout will mean lost federal revenues.

All week, German newspapers have reverberated with predictions, including from some coalition lawmakers, that Germany and other euro zone countries will eventually have to write off some of their Greek debt holdings.

Mr. Schaeuble said Germany was insisting on strict monitoring of Greece's reforms to ensure it met its fiscal targets, adding that the country's competitiveness was finally improving as a result of the austerity program.

Criticism of the Greek bailouts within Ms. Merkel's coalition has softened in recent months after she decided the cost of expelling Greece from the euro zone would be far greater.

Story continues below advertisement

The SPD has accused the government of deceiving German voters by insisting that no further writedowns of Greek debt will be necessary, but it is difficult for the strongly pro-euro centre-left party to make political capital out of this issue.

Ms. Merkel's policy of talking tough on austerity in Greece and other heavily indebted euro zone countries while making the necessary concessions to avert a messy default commands broad support in Germany, where the chancellor is as popular as ever.

"We will vote for it because we don't want our reliability as European partners left in any doubt. It has nothing to do with the government," Peer Steinbrueck, the SPD's candidate for chancellor in next year's election, said during Friday's debate.

SPD parliamentary leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier accused the government of putting off the "economically unavoidable" debt haircut for Greece for its own political reasons.

"You can postpone it until after Christmas, until after the Lower Saxony election, the Bavarian election or the federal elections, but it will come."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies