Monday

18th Dec 2017

German opposition may delay vote on Greek aid

  • Bundestag: 'We need more time to study the deal,' says Steinmeier (Photo: BriYYZ)

A vote in the Bundestag on the recently agreed Greece deal may be delayed or split as the German Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens are asking for more time to study the implications of the package.

The centre-right coalition had scheduled the vote for Thursday (29 November) with the leftist-green opposition initially signalling it would be in favour of keeping Greece afloat.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

However, SPD leader Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the Bundestag is no "rubberstamping parliament" and the Thursday deadline is too short as not all documents have been translated into German.

Steinmeier also suggested the Bundestag to vote only on one measure - the bond-buyback scheme aimed at helping Greece lower the value of the outstanding bonds in private hands to 35 cents per euro. "We don't know yet if the bond-buyback will work," Steinmeier said.

The rest of the measures - lowering the interest rate on the Greek loans and handing over the profits from these loans - should then be approved by the Bundestag only mid-December, the Social-Democrat leader said.

According to estimates made by finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, the German budget for next year would lose €730 million in revenues from these two measures. The Bundestag must approve the measures first.

Schaeuble will meet MPs in the budget committee on Wednesday in a bid to convince them to stick to the planned schedule and vote for the whole package on Thursday or Friday.

Schaeuble is also under fire for not completely ruling out a debt restructuring, a measure demanded by the International Monetary Fund. Part of the long-fought compromise on Monday night was for Germany to agree that governments may take losses on their Greek bonds "once Greece returns or is about to return to a budget surplus." This, according to projections made by the troika, will happen sometime in 2016.

To the German opposition, however, it is "absolutely clear" that the debt restructuring debate is being put off until after Germany's general elections in September-October 2013.

Admitting that the Greek programme is costing German taxpayer money would be a blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition, after years of reassurances that this will never happen.

But even to some politicians in Merkel's Christian-Democratic Union, the prospect of losses on the Greek loans is unavoidable.

"I am afraid in the long run it will not work without debt restructuring," CDU man Wolfgang Bosbach told Bild.

Greece's debt has currently ballooned to 190 percent of GDP and is supposed to shrink to 124 percent of GDP by 2020 and around 110 percent by 2022, a task economists deem impossible without creditors taking a loss.

Opinion

Divided Europe, divided Eurozone

In the past few days, Brussels has been swept by a EU budget debate for the years 2014 to 2020, and the continuing saga of the Greek debt. Current solutions reflect old challenges and new divisions, writes Dan Steinbock.

EU set to probe Ikea tax affairs

Swedish founded furniture retailer Ikea has reportedly been targeted by the European Commission, which is set to launch an investigation into how tax schemes in the Netherlands allegedly enabled it to avoid paying into public coffers.

News in Brief

  1. EU-UK Brexit trade deal by January 2021, official says
  2. Bitcoin is 'deadly', Danish central bank warns
  3. EU Commission wants to ban 'legal weed'
  4. France files €10m complaint against Amazon
  5. EU negotiators reach deal on 'circular economy'
  6. Poll: Tight race in Catalonia days before elections
  7. EU: Israel built 8,000 settler homes in six months
  8. China agrees to promote London as centre for yuan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceA New Study Challenges the Infrastructure Mega Corridors Agenda
  2. Dialogue PlatformThe Gülen Community: Who to Believe - Politicians or Actions?" by Thomas Michel
  3. Plastics Recyclers Europe65% plastics recycling rate attainable by 2025 new study shows
  4. European Heart NetworkCommissioner Andriukaitis' Address to EHN on the Occasion of Its 25th Anniversary
  5. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  6. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  7. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  8. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  9. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  10. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  11. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  12. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?