NEWS

Several eurozone parliaments to vote on new Greek debt deal

several-eurozone-parliaments-to-vote-on-new-greek-debt-deal

Even if Greece and its European partners finally reached a deal on a third aid program in grueling weekend talks, it must still be approved by eight different national parliaments. And the German Bundestag will even get to vote on it twice.

In most countries, despite certain grumblings, approval of the deal is in no real doubt. But in some, such as Finland, debate could prove tempestuous.

No vote is required in the parliaments of Belgium, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Lithuania, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Neither will the parliaments in Malta or Slovenia vote, because their total financial aid to Greece will not increase as the money will come from the European Stability Mechanism, which euro members paid into in 2012.

In the Netherlands, Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who is also Eurogroup chief, will inform the parliament on Wednesday, but a vote will not be needed.

A vote will also be unnecessary in Ireland, where the government only plans to hold a debate once the details of the agreement have been finalized. That debate is therefore likely to take place in September, once parliament reconvenes from its summer break that starts at the end of this week.

Germany

The German lower house is already on its summer break. But it will reconvene to hold two votes on the aid package. The first – to be held on Friday – will be to mandate the government to enter into negotiations on the concrete modalities and precise volumes of aid.

A second – for which no date has yet been set – will then be needed to approve the final deal once it has been worked out in detail.

Chancellor Angela Merkel commands a comfortable majority of 504 out of 631 seats with her "grand coalition" of Conservatives and Social Democrats.

One of the opposition parties, the environmentalist Greens, are also likely to back the agreement. So, arithmetically, the outcome of the vote is a done deal.

Politically, however, things are more complicated for Merkel. Within her Christian Union CDU/CSU parties, the number of people who are disaffected with the whole issue of Greece has increased.

If the number of no-voters grows to anywhere near half of those in the CDU/CSU parliamentary faction, it will deal a heavy blow to the chancellor. But generally speaking, her conservatives may rant and fume a lot beforehand, but end up toeing the line.

Finland

Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila must present the new agreement to his fellow coalition partners, notably the euroskeptic Finns Party which had been advocating a Grexit.
Once the government has reached a mutual understanding on the new deal, its position will be presented to the Parliamentary Grand Committee, made up of 25 lawmakers. That Grand Committee, which mirrors the political make-up of the Parliament, will discuss the agreement and the government's position.

A vote will only be held if there is opposition to it. The meeting is not yet scheduled. But it should take place "within days," a spokesperson for the Grand Committee told AFP on Monday.

Greece

The Hellenic Parliament or Vouli ton Ellinon will vote on Wednesday on the draft deal agreed in Brussels. It must also, as part of the deal, set the legislative process in motion to passing some of the key reforms it has promised to undertake.

Although the concessions Alexis Tspiras made will lead to much gritting of teeth in his far-left SYRIZA party, he will likely be able to count on at least part of the opposition to get parliament's green light.

France

French President Francois Hollande indicated that a vote by the National Assembly will be held on Wednesday. With detractors more likely to abstain than vote 'No,' the deal is set to sail through without any problem.

Austria

A parliamentary vote is necessary and is expected to be held at a special session on Thursday or Friday. Parliamentary approval is not really in any doubt, even less so, as the opposition environmentalist Green party are set to vote yes.

Estonia

The Estonian parliament will vote on Thursday, interrupting their summer vacation to do so. But a positive outcome is not in doubt, as the ruling coalition commands a solid majority.

Latvia

Latvia didn't vote on the two previous aid packages because it wasn't a member of the eurozone at the time, but will vote this time. A date has not been fixed yet.

"It will be very difficult for me to convince parliament," Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma admitted in a radio interview on Friday.

Slovakia

The Slovakian parliament is under no legal obligation to vote. But the government of Robert Fico, which had been reluctant to agree to a new Greek bailout, will ask parliament's committee for European affairs to give the green light, said the committees chief Lubos Blaho. A date has not yet been set.

[AFP]