SPD delays Bundestag’s Greek tranche hearing


Germany’s parliamentary budget committee will discuss paying the next tranche of aid to Greece next week, a senior lawmaker from the Social Democrat Party (SDP) said on Tuesday, prolonging uncertainty over whether the deal needs parliamentary approval.

Three months before an election, some lawmakers from the SPD, the junior partner in Angela Merkel’s coalition, are seeking a full parliamentary debate on the 8.5-billion-euro loan to Greece – which would expose sharp divisions within Merkel’s conservative parliamentary group.

The budget committee, which had been expected to meet on Wednesday, has to decide if the full house has to approve the disbursement of a fresh tranche that was agreed to by eurozone finance ministers last week.

“The budget committee will only address the latest decision of the Eurogroup in its next weekly sitting,” the SPD’s budget policy spokesman Johannes Kahrs said.

“It is clearly uncomfortable for the [conservative] fraction that the IMF is not involved… even though [German Finance Minister Wolfgang] Schaeuble promised it would be.”

The IMF has said it would like to see some of Greece’s debts being written off in return for its participation in the bailout deal, a move that would be unpopular in Germany.

Earlier, Merkel ally Michael Grosse-Broemer had said that no parliamentary vote would be needed, suggesting that the budget committee could nod the new deal through.