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Schaeuble signals Greece may need more help

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble signaled that Greece may need additional help as the country’s most-read newspaper slammed a rescue accord as a “never-ending story” financed by German taxpayers.

Euro-area governments may provide additional funding through the European Union structural fund and further interest- payment reduction as long as Greece meets all its obligations under the agreement, Schaeuble wrote in a letter to German lawmakers obtained by Bloomberg News. Legislators in the lower house, or Bundestag, will vote on the measure as soon as Thursday.

They may confront increased public resistance as Bild- Zeitung, a tabloid that’s called in the past for Greece’s exit from the currency union, pilloried Tuesday’s late-night agreement in Brussels to ease terms on emergency aid for Greece.

“The Greek patient is beyond help,” Bild said in a commentary, adding that the ever-rising costs were falling on German taxpayers. “One hardly needs to imagine the worst scenario: the patient dies, the paramedic goes bust.”

German lawmakers are set to approve the new terms of aid for Greece, where the European debt crisis originated over three years ago. Euro-area finance ministers also agreed to scale back debt by engineering a Greek bond buyback.

The letter comes as euro nations began to tally the cost of the rescue, partly from the European Central Bank’s steering of profit from its Greek bond holdings back to Greece.

Germany’s forgone profit from future ECB Greek holdings will total about 2.74 billion euros, according to Schaeuble. Spain will have an impact worth 1.7 billion euros through 2020, ABC reported, citing Economy Ministry officials. L’Echo reported that forgone profit and reduced interest rates will cost Belgium 90 million euros next year.

Lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition and two of three opposition parties voiced approval of the deal as the Bundestag prepared to vote by the end of the week, helping Greece past one of Europe’s biggest political hurdles.

“We’ve always gotten a majority in the past and I don’t think that will change,” Christian Democratic Union parliamentarian Michael Grosse-Broemer, who’s responsible for gathering his party’s votes, told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday. “It’s good that there was an agreement.”

[Bloomberg]

ekathimerini.com , Wednesday November 28, 2012 (13:45)  
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