Germany’s parliament has voted in favor of starting negotiations on a third bailout for Greece worth about $94 billion dollars, though a sizable minority opposed the talks. Following the vote, Greece and the Eurozone’s bailout fund formally opened negotiations.
German chancellor Angela Merkel spent her 61st birthday playing party politics as she attempted to convince parliamentarians to back the opening of negotiations on Greece’s third bailout.
Merkel warned of what she called “predictable chaos” if they rejected the rescue deal which she said had been complicated by Greece’s referendum. The motion passed with a strong majority, though 119 parliamentarians voted no, many from Merkel’s own party.
But Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also faced harsh criticism for his hardline approach to the negotiations and repeated calls for a temporary Greek euro exit. A poll on Friday revealed 49 percent of Germans oppose the latest bailout, but outside the parliament some Germans called for a fairer deal, holding signs that read ‘democracy instead of debt slavery.’
Greece will be able to tap a new bridge loan cleared by Eurozone members Friday.
Last month Greece became the first developed country ever to default on a repayment to the IMF. The loan follows the European Central Bank’s decision on Thursday to boost its emergency funding to Greek banks, which Athens hopes will re-open on Monday, though with withdrawal limits remaining in place.
CCTV’s Jack Barton filed this report.