NEWS

Austrian parliament backs Greek bailout talks

austrian-parliament-backs-greek-bailout-talks

The Austrian parliament on Friday backed further talks with Greece over a new bailout deal, after a heated debate between the ruling coalition and the opposition which rejected the measures.

The vote came a day after lawmakers in Athens agreed to tough economic reforms in view of obtaining a 86-billion-euro ($94-billion) aid package — Greece's third since 2010.

Austria would contribute 55 million euros to the massive funding, which would come out of the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism.

Chancellor Werner Faymann described the loan as a "serious chance" for Greece, which he said was facing "a tough way".

"We belong in this joint Europe, we benefit from it and therefore we also carry responsibility for this joint Europe," he told parliament amid loud applause from members of his SPO party.

But the opposition, which includes the Greens and the right-wing FPO party, slammed the proposal.

"This is not an aid package for Greece, it's a package for banks and speculators," said FPO leader Heinz Christian Strache.

Austria is one of several EU countries whose parliaments must sign off of any debt agreement for Greece.

Friday's ballot provided Finance Minister Hans Joerg Schelling with a new mandate to continue negotiations with Greece. But a final bailout deal would once again need the assembly's green light.

Germany's Bundestag also Friday gave the go ahead for talks on a third Greek bailout, joining other nations including France and Finland.

[AFP]