Key lawmakers from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition backed bailout talks with Greece, setting the tone for a vote in Germany’s parliament that’s needed to start negotiations.
Even as Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble renewed his suggestion of a temporary exit from the euro for Greece, lawmakers from Merkel’s Christian Democrat-led bloc and her Social Democratic junior partner sought to build support for talks on a third aid package before the vote by the full lower house, or Bundestag, on Friday.
“A large majority” of lawmakers from Merkel’s bloc on the lower-house Budget Committee favor starting bailout talks, panel member Eckhardt Rehberg of the Christian Democrats told reporters in Berlin on Thursday. “The SPD will give its support,” Johannes Kahrs of the Social Democrats said.
After months of talks between Greece and its creditors produced a initial accord on a third bailout on Monday, Merkel may face increased dissent in her own party bloc. Twenty-nine of her lawmakers broke ranks and declined to support an extension of Greece’s previous aid program in February.
The Greek parliament’s approval early Thursday of a bailout agreement with new austerity measures, which keeps the country in the euro for now, is a “first step toward regaining trust,” Rehberg said.
Merkel’s coalition controls 504 of 631 lower-house seats and can count on support from the opposition Greens, making approval likely. Even Schaeuble, who briefed lawmakers in Berlin on Thursday ahead of the parliamentary vote, signaled in a radio interview that he backs renewed talks with Greece, though “we don’t know what the outcome of the negotiations will be.”