Germany backs latest Greek aid

BERLIN — Lawmakers in Germany’s lower house of Parliament easily passed the next round of financial support for Greece on Friday, despite growing doubt among members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition and opposition parties that the measures will be sufficient to resolve the Greek problem.

As expected, a clear majority of 473 out of 584 lawmakers casting ballots voted in favor of the package of measures agreed to by European finance ministers and international lenders last week that will unlock loan installments totaling $56.7 billion. One hundred lawmakers voted against the measure and 11 abstained.

Germany is one of Greece’s largest creditors and support from Berlin is crucial for the success of the program.


Yet with a parliamentary election scheduled for Sept. 22, German politicians from all sides have been reluctant to take on extra financial burdens.

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Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, defended the latest bailout package and praised the restructuring efforts that have been made by the government of Antonis Samaras, prime minister of Greece.

But he warned that the current discussion of writing down Greek debt would sap Athens’ drive to continue with the painful course of reforms that Germany has required in exchange for more financial assistance.

‘‘If we say that the debt will be forgiven, then the readiness to save in exchange for further help is weakened. Consequently, this is the false incentive,’’ Schauble said.

He added: ‘‘If we want to help Greece along this difficult path, then we must go forward step by step.’’