Three parliaments to vote on Greek debt deal
Three national parliaments in the 17-nation euro area will have to hold votes to approve an agreement among international lenders on reducing Greece’s debt burden, a Reuters survey shows.
The German Bundestag (lower house) will debate the issue this week and vote on Friday on the deal struck early on Tuesday to cut interest rates, extend the maturity of loans by 15 years to 30 and grant Greece a 10-year interest payment holiday.
The package also involves a Greek government buy-back of its own bonds from private investors at discounted prices and the return to Greece of profits accruing to national central banks from European Central Bank purchases of Greek debt.
The package is assured of approval because the opposition Social Democrats and Greens support aid for Greece, as well as most members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centre-right coalition. However, some conservative backbenchers have voiced concern at the possibility of a debt write-down at a later date.
The Dutch parliament must also endorse the deal, but no problem is foreseen since the new pro-European coalition of centre-right liberals and the centre-left Labour party supports the Greek bailout.
In Finland, where lawmakers have previously set tough conditions for supporting bailouts, demanding collateral on loans to Greece, parliament’s Grand Committee gave Finance Minister Jutta Urpilainen a negotiating mandate in advance and she consulted it for additions during the night before agreeing.
The French parliament will also have to approve the deal, but it will do so as part of a vote on the 2013 budget, or a supplementary 2012 budget, and President Francois Hollande’s Socialist party has an overall majority in the National Assembly.
In other euro zone countries, including Slovakia, which held up the first international bailout for Greece two years ago, no parliamentary vote is required on the package. [Reuters]