Public support for German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her coalition has plummeted amid the European financial crisis.
The German Parliament has approved a series of measures allowing the country to provide up to $184 billion in loan guarantees in a package aimed at stabilizing the euro and helping support those European nations that are mired in debt.
Germany has been the historical barrier to European bailout fever, waging a political battle that has split the country as its neighbors and currency teeter on the brink of financial ruin. —JCL
The New York Times:
Germany’s two houses of Parliament approved a package of measures on Friday allowing the country to contribute to a nearly $1 trillion bailout package aimed at stabilizing the euro and propping up European nations that are swimming in debt.
By approving legislation that provides for loan guarantees of up to $184 billion, Germany offered a sign to jittery investors that Europe’s largest economy was committed to trying to solve the Continent’s debt crisis. Indeed, financial markets seemed to stabilize after the vote.
But divisions in the lower house of Parliament and days of acrimonious debate before the vote highlighted the unpopularity of the bailout among Germans. Germany has proposed financial sanctions against European nations that fail to put their budgets in order, a move that gained some support on Friday at a meeting of European Union finance officials. The lower house of the German Parliament, the Bundestag, approved the European bailout measure by a vote of 319 to 73, but 195 lawmakers abstained, signaling their displeasure with how Chancellor Angela Merkel has handled a crisis that has tested the credibility of the euro. Even though Mrs. Merkel’s coalition of conservatives and Free Democrats hold a majority in the Bundestag, she could not muster all the 332 votes from her own bloc, and the bill passed with a narrow majority.