Germany’s Merkel faces biggest test in euro vote
Germany’s Merkel faces biggest test in euro vote, German MPs were set to back a beefed-up fund for debt-laden eurozone countries Thursday in a vote seen as key in stemming financial turmoil and a landmark test of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s leadership.
Under the spectre of a looming Greek default, Germany’s 620-member Bundestag will likely be the latest of the 17 eurozone parliaments to ratify an expansion of the 440-billion-euro ($599 billion) bailout fund.
Pressure mounted further after US President Barack Obama said Europe’s failure to tackle the Greek debt was “scaring the world” and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for a response that was “strong, flexible, and most importantly, effective”.
But as Europe’s paymaster, Germany’s eurozone partners and financial markets will likely greet Berlin’s approval in particular with relief, not least because of a threatened revolt within Merkel’s governing coalition.
While the bill is expected to pass, with opposition parties pledging to vote in favour, Merkel faces the humiliation of having to rely on their support, raising doubts over the future of the coalition running Europe’s top economy.
Weighing up the importance of Thursday’s vote both for Europe and for the German political landscape, the left-leaning Tagesspiegel daily said it was “perhaps the most important decision” of the coalition.
“Without an approval by the German parliament the future of the euro would be called into question,” it continued in Wednesday’s edition.