French parliament passes Greek aid plan

09:58, May 07, 2010      

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French Senate on Friday passed the amending bill to allot 3.9 billion euros (4.9 billion U.S. dollars) from its 2010 budget plan to aid debt-ridden Greece, which is part of a French loan of 16.8 billion euros over three years.

After one day's hearing and debate, the Senators finally adopted the Greek aid plan with a nearly unanimous agreement. A majority of 311 senators voted for the bill while only 25 votes against it.

The lower house National Assembly has made through the bill at the wee hours of Tuesday also by a show of hands. French Budget Minister Francois Baroin presented the bill firstly to the lower house on Monday.

The pass of the bill was expected, given the majority of the ruling Party, President Nicolas Sarkozy's Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), and the firm support from the main opposition party the Socialist. The clear legislation way from both parliament houses made France probably the first eurozone member to legalize its Greek aid plan.

On May 2, the European Commission and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to provide a package of 110 billion euros in aid for Greece over three years, with 45 billion euros expected in place alone this year.

France has promised to take 20.7 percent of the overall EU aid, which is 80 million euros, and the first French aid of 3.9 billion euros is going to take effect before May 19, the deadline of Greece's nearest debt this year.

According to the official estimation, helping Greece would raise the French public deficit to 152 billion euros in late 2010, but the French government has pledged to rein in its rising deficit.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced Thursday that the government is to "freeze" public spending in 2011, 2012 and 2013. The public expenditure will rise no more excluding the debts interest and the pension cost in the next three years, he said.

The parliament of Germany, another big contributor of European aid package, is also expected to pass legislation by Friday to legalize its share to bail out Greece.

Greece was exposed to the financial crisis since last October when its new Socialist government raised the state's 2009 deficit forecast. To date, the Hellenic Republic is facing a huge debt of more than 300 billion euros. (1 euro = 1.26 U.S. dollars)

Source: Xinhua


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