German Parliament Approves Greek Loan

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machinehead's picture
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Joined: Mar 18 2008
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German Parliament Approves Greek Loan

In for a pfennig, in for a pound:

BERLIN (AP) -- German lawmakers on Friday approved the country's share of the rescue package for debt-laden Greece after a boisterous debate in which the finance minister told them they had no alternative to the unpopular measure.

The lower house of parliament voted 390-72, with 139 abstentions, to authorize granting as much as euro22.4 billion ($28.6 billion) in credit over three years. That is part of a wider euro110 billion package backed by eurozone members and the International Monetary Fund. The upper house of parliament, which represents Germany's 16 states where Merkel's government also has a majority, was expected to add its approval later Friday.

''We have to make this decision and we have no better alternative,'' Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told lawmakers ahead of the vote. ''Any other alternative would be much more expensive for the Germans, would be much more dangerous, would carry much bigger risks.''

Schaeuble said central bankers and the IMF agree ''it would be disastrous to risk ... a member of the European currency union, Greece, now becoming insolvent. This is about defending the common European currency as a whole, and with it we are defending the European project,'' Schaeuble said.

Left Party lawmaker Gesine Loetzsch described the austerity package to be implemented in Greece as ''brutal'' and accused German leaders of doing too little to control markets. ''Speculators are Taliban in pinstripes, and people in our country must be protected from these Taliban,'' Left Party lawmaker Gesine Loetzsch said -- a remark that drew a rebuke from speaker Norbert Lammert.

'To risk Greece becoming insolvent'?  Herr Schaeuble, my man -- Greece IS insolvent. Lending her more funds at interest will only deepen the insolvency. Your punitive, Versailles-style debt reparations impose a hopeless repayment burden on Greece which Germany, of all countries, ought to be able to understand. Remember Weimar?

Gotta love the ritual attack on 'speculators' from a parliamentarian whose government collects taxes at gunpoint and counterfeits unredeemable currency. May I suggest a duel to the finish with the Taliban? Oh wait, it's already happening in Helmand!  Undecided





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