German Parliament approves Greece’s bailout extension

World Today

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, left, meets with German politician and Member of the European Parliament for The Greens Ska Keller, in Athens, on Friday, Feb. 27, 2015. Greece was granted the extension by its European creditors last week in exchange for a commitment to budget reforms.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Germany’s Parliament overwhelmingly approved the four-month extension of Greece’s financial bailout on Friday, despite unease over the new government in Athens.

Lawmakers voted 542-32 to back the bailout extension. There were 13 abstentions.

Greece was granted the extension by its European creditors, ensuring it remains solvent and does not run the risk of falling out of the euro, but only in exchange for a commitment to budget reforms. Germany is among the countries that needed to approve the deal in its national parliament.

“This is not about new billions for Greece, not about changing this program,” Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble assured Parliament ahead of the vote. “It’s about providing additional time to complete this program successfully.”

Comments by Greek officials casting doubt on privatization deals and raising the possibility of further debt relief had irked some in Germany in the run-up to the vote.

“We Germans should do everything to keep Europe together and bring it together, as far as we can,” Schaeuble said.

Germany, a key creditor nation, has been among the strongest advocates of unpopular spending cuts and insists aid must come with strings attached.

Schaeuble told lawmakers that the eurozone is on the right track.

“We must stick to this course and we must say to our colleagues in Greece that, with all respect for voters’ decision in Greece, Greece alone cannot decide in Europe what the right path is,” he said.

Story complied from AP reports.