Germany Fast-Tracks Greek Aid Package

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Germany's three opposition parties agreed today to fast-track through its parliament a draft bailout bill for Greece.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Germany's parliament will begin debate on the financial aid request bill on Monday. Getting support from all Germany's parliamentary parties can take months. But as Europe's largest economy, Germany is facing pressure from other European Union countries to help Greece get back on its feet.

"My message [in Berlin] was that a fast parliamentary procedure was highly recommended in the present circumstances," Jean-Claude Trichet, the president of the European Central Bank, told The Journal.

Trichet met with the International Monetary Fund and Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday to discuss Greece's financial situation. After the meeting, Merkel announced that Germany would lend Greece its fair share if Greece agrees to implement new austerity measures. Greece is hoping that Germany will give it €8.4 billion, or $11 billion.

European governments and investors are nervous that Greece's financial problems will spill over to the rest of Europe. The credit agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Greek bonds to junk status earlier this week and downgraded Portuguese bonds two notches. Spain is also facing an unemployment rate of 20 percent and a towering budget deficit.

But The New York Times reports that many Germans are opposed to bailing Greece out. “If Merkel said, ‘Today we give the money to Greece,’ this would be the first domino against Europe in Germany,” Wolfgang Nowak, a former adviser to former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, told The Times. “It would invite populists from all sides to attack.”

A majority vote from parliament members on the bailout bill is expected at the end of next week.

For more WQXR coverage on this story, click here and here.

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