Germany's lower house OKs contribution to eurozone rescue plan

21:00, May 21, 2010      

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The lower house of parliament on Friday approved Berlin's 148-billion-euro (182 billion U.S. dollar) share in the massive eurozone rescue plan,two days after Chancellor Angela Merkel termed resolving the current crisis an historic task.

The bill cleared the Bundestag by a 319-73 vote with 195 abstentions, which allows Europe's largest economy to contribute 148 billion euros (182 billion U.S. dollars) to the 750-billion-euro (923 billion U.S. dollar) rescue package.

The rescue plan is not popular in Germany but Bundestag approval was widely expected beforehand because Merkel's ruling coalition enjoys a majority in the house.

The bill has been submitted to the Bundesrat upper house and passage was widely expected.

Warning that euro is facing its "biggest test" in decades, Merkel has dedicated several speeches to the importance of the rescue plan for preventing the currency from collapsing.

"It is about no more and no less than the preservation of the European idea. That is our historic task; if the euro fails, then Europe fails," she said Wednesday.

EU finance ministers on Monday agreed on the eurozone rescue plan to aid fiscally troubled member states. Member states have to contribute 440 billion euros (541 billion U.S. dollars) over three years, while the EU Commission provides 60 billion euros (74 billion U.S. dollars) and the IMF 250 billion euros (308 billion U.S. dollars).

Source: Xinhua


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