Germany’s best-selling Bild newspaper called on lawmakers to reject the Greek bailout package, placing pressure on legislators as they vote today on whether to approve the measures amid growing public discontent.
Exhorting parliament members to “Stop!” in a front-page headline, the Axel Springer AG-owned newspaper capitalized on public distaste over the 130 billion-euro ($174 billion) rescue package, the second in two years. Bild yesterday reported that 62 percent of Germans want lawmakers to vote down the package, versus 33 percent who approve, according to a poll.
“Today is once again payday in the German Bundestag,” Bild wrote on its front page, referring to Berlin’s lower house of parliament. “Don’t go down this false path,” it said.
Chancellor Angela Merkel will probably win a majority for the Greek package because it’s backed by the opposition Social Democrats and Greens. The funds are part of efforts by European leaders seeking to stave off a collapse of Greece’s economy and win time to resolve the region’s debt crisis now in its third year. Merkel is due to address the Bundestag at 3 p.m. local time.
Merkel’s Christian Democratic-led bloc and its Free Democratic Party coalition partner have a 20-seat majority in the 620-seat Bundestag. Support should be ensured with the backing of opposition SPD and Green lawmakers, who together have 222 seats in the assembly.
Wolfgang Bosbach, a lawmaker in Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, said last week the chancellor would win a majority in her coalition, even though he planned to vote against the bill.
“I don’t doubt that we’re buying time, but we’re doing more to add to the problem rather than making it better,” Bosbach said in an interview on Feb. 23. “Until now, none of our expectations have been fulfilled.”
That view was amplified by Bild, which cited 10 economists, including Hans-Werner Sinn, head of the Munich-based Ifo Institute, speaking out against further aid.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich became the first German Cabinet member to raise the prospect of a Greek departure from the euro area. Friedrich told Der Spiegel in an interview that while Greece shouldn’t be expelled from the monetary union, it would have better chances outside the area.
While depictions of German policy makers in Nazi uniforms have appeared in Greek newspapers, Bild, often a barometer of German public sentiment, has had a series of front-page headlines decrying rescue efforts for Greece. A headline last November read: “Take the euro away from the Greeks!”