Spanish lawmakers were Tuesday to approve Greece’s third international bailout, which Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy decided to put to a vote in parliament ahead of a year-end general election.
Unlike other eurozone nations such as Germany, Spain is not required to have its parliament approve the emergency package worth up to 86 billion euros ($96 billion).
The vote, expected in the early evening, is sure to pass as the bailout has the backing of the main opposition Socialists as well as that of the ruling Popular Party.
The PP used the debate to promote itself as the guarantor of Spain’s economic recovery going into elections due at the end of the year where they face of a stiff challenge from new anti-austerity party Podemos, a close ally of Greeces far-left ruling SYRIZA party.
"There are three lessons to learn from the Greek crisis. First of all, we can’t get around the obstacle (of reforms). Secondly, the siren call of populism ends up creating mirages," Economy Minister Luis de Guindos told the assembly.
"Finally… irresponsible policies have a price," he added.
The minister said Spain’s contribution to Greeces latest financial aid package — 10.15 billion euros — was "significant."
During an interview with news radio Cadena Ser, the Podemos secretary for political affairs, Inigo Errejon, accused the government of debating the Greek bailout in parliament "for propaganda reasons."
Rajoy is betting on Spain’s economic recovery to win re-election to a second term despite poor personal approval ratings.
Spain emerged in 2013 from five years of on-off recession, and the government forecasts the economy will grow by 3.3 percent this year — more than twice the average forecast for eurozone countries — and by 3.0 percent next year.
But unemployment stood at 22.4 percent in the second quarter, the second-highest rate in the eurozone after that of bailed-out Greece.
Eurozone finance ministers on Friday gave the green light to the latest Greek bailout package, which averted the country’s expulsion from the euro but will require more sacrifices from Greeks.
Finland, one of the eurozone countries most sceptical about pouring more aid into Greece, backed the bailout last Thursday. The German parliament will vote on it on Wednesday. [AFP]