German MPs approve Greek bail-out extension

German MPs approve Greek bail-out extension

Athens, February 27, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

By Spiros Sideris

The Bundestag, voted overwhelmingly in favour of the four-month extension of the Greek bailout on Friday, achieving the biggest majority for any vote on eurozone bailouts since the crisis began, German news magazine Der Spiegel reported.

In a total of 587 votes cast, 542 voted “Yes”, 32 voted “No” and 13 abstained.

Of those who voted against the extension or abstained, almost all have come from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU coalition government.

During the debate, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had urged parliament to take what he acknowledged was a difficult decision and approve an extension of Greece’s bailout, assuring them Athens would not be allowed to “blackmail” its euro zone partners.

“We’re not talking about new billions for Greece, we’re not talking about any changes to this programme – rather it’s about providing or granting extra time to successfully end this programme,” he told the Bundestag ahead of its vote on Greece.