Conservative lawmakers applauded at length when Merkel thanked Schaeuble for his role in negotiations.
German lawmakers gave Chancellor Angela Merkel the green light to negotiate a new bailout deal for Greece as European Union members approved on Friday a 7-billion-euro bridge loan for the cash-strapped state.
Germany’s lower house of parliament approved the reopening of financial negotiations with Greece with 439 MPs voting in favour, 119 voting against, while 40 abstained, Deutsche Welle reports.
Merkel acknowledged concerns over the chances of a successful bailout but said the alternative would be chaos in Greece.
The new Greek bailout plan is the final attempt to help Athens through its current crisis, said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who has emerged as one of the most prominent sceptics of the rescue programme.
There has been a backlash in German media and society to the bailout package forced on Athens which involves Greece partially ceding its fiscal sovereignty to its creditors, representatives of whom will be stationed in Athens to oversee reforms.
Addressing the chamber before the vote on Friday, Merkel had argued that “we would be grossly negligent, indeed acting irresponsibly if we did not at least try this path”.
Schaeuble himself has suggested Greece might be better off taking a “time-out” from the euro zone to sort out its daunting economic problems.
She said Friday that simply leaving Greece to crash out of the euro could lead to “chaos and violence” – though she drew a clear distinction between that and the idea of a voluntary time-out, which she said could only be decided in agreement with Greece and all the other eurozone countries.
She adds: “It can not take that long until things are decided”. Once a bailout is finalized – expected to take several weeks – Merkel will have to face lawmakers again, and she needs to keep in check distaste and resistance to the bailouts in her conservative bloc. “And the sustainability of Greece’s debt isn’t given either”, he said, adding that the number of lawmakers rebelling against the official party line would probably rise.
Despite his misgivings, Schaeuble lined up with his boss.
Asked if he was thinking about resigning, he replied: “No, what makes you think that?”. “The government didn’t submit the request easily”, he told the Bundestag.
Junior Dutch coalition partner the Labor Party welcomed the agreement as a key show of solidarity in a Europe beset by crises at its borders.
That view is far from unanimous across the nation.
Among the changes announced, Tsipras replaced Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and Alternate Finance Minister Nadia Valavani, and ousted Alternate Social Security Minister Dimitris Stratoulis, all of whom had voted against him on the austerity bill. The Greek electorate had already rejected an earlier offer in a referendum, and the latest is even tougher.
Credit ratings agency Moody’s says Greece’s approval of austerity measures “averts an immediate disorderly default and potential exit from the euro” but warns that “risks remain elevated” given substantial skepticism within the country on the bailout conditions.
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said at a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany that emergency credit to Greek banks has been raised by 900 million euros ($980 million) over one week. She also revealed that her family might be deported from Germany as her father could not continue his welding work on a temporary permit.
Speaking to broadcaster Deutschlandfunk radio, Schaeuble objected to a haircut on the nominal value of Greece’s debt, which many observers say would run into legal obstacles as it would be considered “monetary financing”.
“I don’t see that the stability of the euro zone as a whole is in danger”. But Gregor Gysi of the Left party, Syriza’s ideological counterpart in Germany, turned the tables.