In Europe: German Parliament Backs Rescue Fund

29 September 2011


Germany to the rescue…as expected

German lawmakers approved an expansion of the euro-area rescue fund’s firepower, freeing the way for European officials to focus on what next steps may be needed to stem the debt crisis.

The lower house of parliament passed the measure with 523 votes in favor and 85 against, granting the fund powers to buy bonds in secondary markets, enable bank recapitalizations and offer precautionary credit lines. It raises Germany’s guarantees to 211 billion euros ($287 billion) from 123 billion euros. The main opposition Social Democrats and Greens said before today’s session in Berlin that they’d vote with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, assuring passage.

The bill’s passage by Europe’s biggest economy allows euro- area officials to weigh further measures to bolster Greece and stem investor concern that helped end the biggest three-day rally in 16 months for European stocks. Options include seeking further writedowns on Greek sovereign bonds, adding yet more firepower to the rescue fund and a plan to protect banks…

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